All indices had been holding on to gains of approximately half a percent until midday on Tuesday, when markets went south, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the NASDAQ each about 1 percent lower, before the situation stabilized, allowing stocks to recoup some of their losses.
The S&P 500 ended the day 0.05 percent in the red to close at 1,614.08, while the Dow was off 0.28 percent to 14,932.41, and the NASDAQ crawled its way back to a loss of only 0.03 percent to close at 3,433.40.
With a relative dearth of economic data points to go on, investors are anticipating Friday’s job report ahead of earnings season which officially begins on Monday, with aluminum manufacturer Alcoa (AA) being the first company on the Dow to publish their financials for the second quarter.
Despite the slight losses, the S&P did get some relief from Ford Motor Co. (F), up 2.76 percent after the company reported its best sales figures for the month of June since 2006. Services stocks also held up well throughout the day, with gains for auto parts-maker Genuine Parts Company (GPC), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF), and grocery store chain operator The Kroger Co. (KR).
On the Dow, industrial goods stocks provided significant downward pressure with losses for General Electric (GE) and Boeing Co. (BA).
On the NASDAQ, online gaming company Zynga (ZNGA) jumped 6.5 percent on the news that CEO Mark Pincus was stepping down to make room for the former head of Xbox, Don Mattrick.
Wall Street’s midday dip has been widely attributed to increasing unrest in Egypt, a country whose geopolitical positioning in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean region is absolutely central. The Egyptian military on Monday took the unprecedented step of issuing a 48-hour deadline for President Mohammed Morsi to come to terms with the country’s political opposition.
On Tuesday, the military, perhaps the country’s most contiguous institution, seeking to portray itself as on the side of the people, outlined its course of action if the sitting president was unable to do anything to calm the anger that has been spilling over into the streets in recent weeks. Morsi’s ruling Justice and Development party was rocked over the weekend by protests even larger than the ones that overthrew his predecessor less than three years ago.