Stock Market Today: Stocks Retreat on First Trading Day of Year

Two of the major benchmarks ended in the red, while the blue-chip average was essentially flat.

stock market today
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stocks followed a rollicking 2023 with a tepid first day of trading on Tuesday, with all three major benchmarks suffering something of a New Year's hangover.

Anticipation of the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates as early as the first quarter of 2024 helped markets generate outstanding gains last year. The S&P 500 delivered a total return (price change plus dividends) of 26%, while the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average returned 16%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, generated a total return of 45%.

Alas, the momentum didn't carry into the first session of 2024. 

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Apple falls on downgrade

Shares in Apple (AAPL), one of analysts' favored Dow Jones stocks, lost 3.6%, or more than $105 billion in market capitalization on Tuesday after Barclays downgraded the iPhone maker to "Underweight," or the equivalent of Sell. That's about the same as the entire market value of CVS Health (CVS).

Barclays analyst Tim Long downgraded Apple over iPhone demand concerns. 

"We expect reversion after a year when most quarters were missed and the stock outperformed," Long wrote in a note to clients. "Our checks remain negative on volumes and mix for iPhone 15, and we see no features or upgrades that are likely to make the iPhone 16 more compelling."

Apple put pressure on the market-cap weighted S&P 500 (-0.6% at 4,742) and Nasdaq Composite (-1.6% at 14,765), helping to push them to losses on the day. The price-weighted Dow added less than 0.1% to finish at 37,715.

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Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer, Kiplinger.com

Dan Burrows is Kiplinger's senior investing writer, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.


A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.


Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.


In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics, demographics, real estate, cost of living indexes and more.


Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.


Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.