Stock Market Today: Debt Ceiling Anxiety Weighs on Stocks

While a Monday night meeting between Biden and McCarthy was "productive," there are no signs the two sides are nearing a deal.

man with hands on head looking at stock market chart on PC
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Debt ceiling jitters kept stocks in the red today. While President Joe Biden said that Monday night's meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was "productive" and that "default is off the table," investors have yet to see signs that lawmakers are nearing a resolution. 

An unencouraging tweet about the debt ceiling from Punchbowl News only amplified the anxiety, and sent stocks to their lows of the day. 

The worry around the debt ceiling comes with the "X"-date just over a week away. On Monday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated that the U.S. could run out of money to cover all of its financial obligations as soon as June 1 if the debt limit isn't raised.

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"Debt ceiling talks are inching forward, but it's slow progress, and with uncertainty hanging in the air, gains on equity markets are being held back," says Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Making matters worse, a mid-afternoon tweet from PunchBowl News saying "the two sides aren't close to an agreement" sent the main indexes to their lows of the day. And while the benchmarks finished off the bottom, the Nasdaq Composite still ended the session down 1.3% to 12,560, the S&P 500 shed 1.1% to 4,145, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave back 0.7% to 33,055.

As for today's economic data, S&P Global's flash manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to 48.5 in May from April's 50.2, slipping into contraction territory. However, the flash services sector index jumped to 55.1 from 53.6, a 13-month high. Separately, data from the Census Bureau showed new home sales rose 4.1% from March to April, arriving at a seasonal adjusted annual rate of 683,000.

"The data once again points to an economy that is showing resilience not falling off of a cliff," says Michael Reinking, senior market strategist at the New York Stock Exchange.

Apple and Broadcom ink a major supply deal

In single-stock news, Apple (AAPL) said earlier that it signed a multi-year supply agreement with Broadcom (AVGO). Under the terms of the deal, Broadcom will provide Apple with 5G radio-frequency and wireless connectivity components. While AAPL fell 1.5% today, AVGO climbed 1.2%.

On the earnings front, Lowe's (LOW, +1.7%) reported top- and bottom-line beats in its first quarter. However, the home improvement retailer cut its full-year guidance in order "to reflect softer-than-expected consumer demand for discretionary purchases," said Marvin Ellison, CEO of Lowe's, in the company's press release.

"I was pretty impressed with the results given multiple headwinds facing the company, including lumber deflation, unseasonal weather and lower discretionary do-it-yourself purchases," says David Wagner, portfolio manager at Aptus Capital Advisors. And while it's not too surprising the company lowered its guidance like Home Depot (HD) did last week, Wagner is paying attention to "how much longer the consumer can insulate a market that has seen a lot of deceleration elsewhere." 

Oil stocks to watch ahead of OPEC+ meeting

Not all of the day's price action was lower. Energy stocks were a pocket of strength Tuesday, with the sector climbing 1.1% as U.S. crude oil futures rose 1.2% to $72.91 per barrel. 

Sparking the outperformance were comments from Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, who, ahead of next week's meeting between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+), suggested that bearish market speculators should "watch out." Speaking during a panel at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha, Salman said he keeps "advising that they will be ouching," and that they did "ouch in April" after surprise production cuts from OPEC+ sent oil prices soaring. 

The message could "be a sign that the group is considering cutting output once more amid a more bleak global economic outlook," says Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at currency data provider OANDA. This certainly makes oil stocks worth watching next week.

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Karee Venema
Contributing Editor,

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is an investing editor and options expert at She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.