Wall Street declines ahead of major earnings reports - GulfToday

Wall Street declines ahead of major earnings reports

NY-Stock-750

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Associated Press

US stocks pulled back slightly on Monday as investors awaited a barrage of major earnings reports this week, the busiest this earnings season, while a jump in energy stocks kept losses in check.

The S&P 500 logged slight losses for the holiday-shortened week, however the benchmark was about 1% away from a record high hit in September, boosted in part by largely positive earnings.

About a third of the S&P 500 companies, including Boeing Co, Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc, will report this week, determining whether investors should be concerned about the start of an earnings recession or whether back-to-back quarters of negative growth can be avoided.

S&P 500 profits are expected to drop 1.7% year-over-year, according to Refinitiv data, in what could be the first earnings contraction since 2016.

“Q1 earnings have largely been a pleasant surprise thus far, but have not ignited investor enthusiasm enough to move the needle in a meaningful way,» Peter Kenny, founder of Strategic Board Solutions LLC in New York, wrote in a client note.

“Given the waning volume and advance/decline metrics evidenced by equity markets in recent weeks, it would be justifiable to be concerned.»

The S&P energy index jumped 1%, the most among the major S&P sectors, as oil prices surged on the United States› move to further clampdown on Iranian oil exports, tightening global supplies.

Halliburton Co was flat after gaining earlier. The oilfield services provider said a pricing downturn that has plagued the sector was bottoming out as it reported modestly higher activity levels in North America in the first quarter.

At 10:02am the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 56.52 points, or 0.21%, at 26,503.02, the S&P 500 was down 0.17 points, or 0.01%, at 2,904.86 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 3.26 points, or 0.04%, at 7,994.80.

The technology sector declined 0.13%, weighed down by a fall in shares of Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp, which are scheduled to report their results this week.

Intuitive Surgical Inc fell 4.92% and weighed on the S&P index, after the surgical robotics maker›s quarterly profit missed analysts› estimates.

Boeing Co was down 1.1% after the New York Times reported the company›s factory in South Carolina, which makes the 787 Dreamliner, has been plagued by “shoddy production and weak oversight». Another report on Sunday said the planemaker rejected the allegations.

Helping the consumer staples index gain 0.5% was Kimberly-Clark Corp, which touched a near two-year high, as the consumer products maker reported better-than-expected earnings.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.27-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.19-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 8 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 19 new highs and 30 new lows.

Overnight in Asia shares slipped, pulled lower by underperforming Chinese stocks that retreated from a 13-month high. Comments from top policy-making bodies raised investor fears that Beijing will slow the pace of policy easing after some signs of stabilisation in China.

MSCI›s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.3%, edging away from a nine-month peak last week after Chinese economic data beat expectations and eased concerns about the health of the world economy.

The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 1.7 percent and Japan›s Nikkei edged up 0.08%.

The greenback has found support in recent weeks on the back of a gradual rise in US 10-year Treasury yields and signs of strength in the world›s top economy, including better-than-expected retail sales in March.

The dollar index fell 0.16%, with the euro up 0.05% to $1.1252. The Japanese yen was flat versus the greenback at 111.94 per dollar.

Meanwhile, US home sales fell more than expected in March, pointing to continued weakness in the housing market despite declining mortgage rates and slowing house price gains.

The sharp drop in home sales reported by the National Association of Realtors on Monday came ahead of the busy spring selling season. The housing market continues to buck the broader economy, which has shown signs of gaining momentum after stumbling at the turn of the year.

Existing home sales dropped 4.9 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million units last month. February›s sales pace was revised down to 5.48 million units from the previously reported 5.51 million units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast existing home sales would fall 3.8 per cent to a rate of 5.30 million units last month. Existing home sales, which make up about 90 per cent of US home sales, declined 5.4 per cent from a year ago. That was the 13th straight year-on-year decrease in home sales.

Falling mortgage rates, strengthening wage growth and slowing house price inflation have improved affordability, but housing supply remains tight, especially at the lower end of the market as land and labour shortages are making it difficult for builders to ramp up construction in this market segment.

Reuters