NEW YORK — Most U.S. stocks fell Tuesday as FedEx slumped, and concern grew that European leaders will struggle to resolve the region’s debt crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average posted a slight gain, but declining stocks outnumbered those that advanced. And seven of the 10 industries tracked by the Standard & Poor’s 500 index declined.
“We’re looking for the market to flatten out and hold where it is until the U.S. election,” Thomas Nyheim, a Wilmington, Del.-based fund manager for Christiana Trust, which oversees about $13 billion, said in a telephone interview. “Europe is an overhang that’s still there on the U.S. market. Their debt crisis is not being handled, it’s Band-Aids here and there. It’s slowing us down.”
The S&P 500 fell 0.3 percent Monday after a meeting of European Union finance ministers in Cyprus on Friday and Saturday failed to agree on a timetable for a more unified banking industry, the terms of bailout requests and the role played by the European Central Bank.
Energy, financial stocks and companies that rely on consumer discretionary spending fell the most Tuesday in the S&P 500, retreating at least 0.4 percent.
Consumer staples, phone companies and health care stocks rose the most.
FedEx slumped 3.1 percent to $86.55. The operator of the world’s largest cargo airline cut its annual profit outlook as a weakening economy spurs shippers in the U.S. and overseas to switch to cheaper delivery options.
The company, an economic bellwether because it ships a wide range of goods, pared its forecast for U.S. expansion next year to 1.9 percent from a June prediction of 2.4 percent. FedEx trimmed its forecast for global growth this year and next to 2.3 percent and 2.7 percent, down from 2.4 percent and 3 percent, respectively.
“Fundamentally what’s happening is that exports around the world have contracted, and the policy choices in Europe, the U.S. and China are having an effect on global trade,” Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith said on a conference call.
“Over the last few months, exports and trade have gone down at a faster rate than GDP has.”
Apple rose 0.3 percent to a record $701.91, for a market capitalization of about $658 billion. The stock has advanced 73 percent this year.