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US: Stocks fall as March auto sales disappoint


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks dipped on Monday with auto giants Ford and General Motors retreating as uncertainty about Washington's policy agenda weighed on broader market sentiment.

US auto sales for March were broadly disappointing, setting the stage for a shakeout among auto stocks, with Tesla Motors surging 7.4 per cent after reporting better-than-expected first quarter sales to move past Ford as the second-biggest US automaker by market capitalisation behind GM.

Ford lost 1.8 per cent and GM 3.2 per cent.

Analysts said questions about the likelihood that President Donald Trump will win tax cuts and other key policies also depressed stock buying. Recent stock performance "reflects an ongoing transition from post-election hope to an acceptance of political reality," said a Goldman Sachs note.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.1 per cent at 20,650.21.

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The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.2 per cent to 2,358.84, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.3 per cent to 5,894.68.

Activity in the US manufacturing sector expanded in March, according to data from the Institute for Supply Management. Other key reports this week include the US jobs data for March, as well as minutes from the Federal Reserve's March meeting at which the central bank lifted interest rates.

Panera Bread Company jumped 7.9 per cent following a Bloomberg report that said the restaurant chain had received interest over a potential takeover.


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