Wall St. dips in choppy trade; earnings, Fischer in focus

Wall Street inched lower in a choppy session on Monday as an advance in technology and financial stocks offset the effects of lower oil prices and a dip in healthcare stocks.

Investors are also awaiting Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer’s speech at 12:15 p.m. ET (1615 GMT), when he is expected to offer his thoughts on raising interest rates.

With third-quarter earnings reports in full flow this week, investors will be hoping corporate America’s profits fare better in the second half of the year than they did in the first.

Earnings of S&P 500 companies are expected to have slipped 0.4 percent in the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data, but better-than-expected reports could shore up profits for the period.

The markets have been struggling to maintain momentum in the past few weeks amid changing dynamics of the U.S. presidential elections and varying signals on interest rate hikes.

The benchmark S&P 500 index has alternated between losses and gains for the past seven trading days.

“Other than trading off on some earnings number, I think the markets are going to be quiet today because there is not a lot of market-driving news out there,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management.

At 10:59 a.m. ET (1459 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 18.42 points, or 0.1 percent, at 18,119.96.

The S&P 500 .SPX was down 2.53 points, or 0.12 percent, at 2,130.45 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 4.96 points, or 0.1 percent, at 5,209.21.

Six of the 11 major S&P 500 indexes were higher, with the newly minted real estate index .SPLRCR rising the most, by 0.29 percent.

The energy sector’s .SPNY 0.54 percent drop was the steepest. Oil fell 1.3 percent as a rising U.S. rig count left investors worried about the prolonged glut. [O/R]

Bank of America (BAC.N) reversed course to trade down 0.15 percent, despite its profit rising for the first time in three quarters and also topping estimates.

Hasbro (HAS.O) was up 7.3 percent after the toymaker reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit. Shares of larger rival Mattel (MAT.O) rose 1.3 percent.

Allergan (AGN.N) fell 1.7 percent to $223.69 after FDA staff said the drugmaker’s urinary treatment had not been adequately studied in clinical trials.

Netflix (NFLX.O) fell 2.5 percent as analysts anticipate weakness in subscriber growth when the video streaming website reports third-quarter results after markets close.

IBM (IBM.N), also due to report quarterly results after the close, was up 0.5 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,494 to 1,303. On the Nasdaq, 1,488 issues fell and 1,057 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed no new 52-week highs and seven new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 13 new highs and 59 new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

 

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