April 22, 2019 / 7:22 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St pauses ahead of big earnings wave

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* Energy stocks jump on oil boost

* Kimberly Clark touches two-year high as results beat estimates

* Intuitive Surgical drags on S&P 500 as earnings miss

* Dow off 0.25%, S&P 500 off 0.01%, Nasdaq gains 0.08% (Updates to late afternoon, adds commentary, changes byline, adds New York dateline)

By Sinéad Carew

NEW YORK, April 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday, as investors were cautious ahead of a barrage of quarterly earnings reports from major companies.

S&P 500 companies, including Boeing Co, Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc, were scheduled to report first-quarter results this week, which could help clear any investor fears of a earnings recession.

Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist, at Federated Investors, in New York said he has been encouraged by quarterly reports even though it was early in the earnings season.

“To some degree it could be some concern because we know it’s a big earnings week. What will the overall tenor of this week look like by Friday?” said Orlando.

Monday’s trading was also muted by the fact that some investors were still on vacation after Friday’s U.S. market holiday and because markets were closed in Europe on Monday.

But Orlando was impressed with the latest GDPNow forecast from the Atlanta Federal Reserve for a first-quarter expansion of 2.8% compared with a 0.2% forecast a month ago.

“That tells you the data has turned around and maybe earnings aren’t going to be so bad,” he said.

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

But more than three-quarters of 82 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have surpassed beaten-down expectations.

At 3:05PM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 65.33 points, or 0.25%, at 26,494.21, the S&P 500 lost 0.41 points, or 0.01%, to 2,904.62 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 6.22 points, or 0.08%, to 8,004.28.

The S&P energy index jumped 1.9%, 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.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, led by a 1.7% drop in the real estate index.

Halliburton Co, which swung between gains and losses, was last down 1.4%. It said a pricing downturn that has plagued the sector was bottoming out and reported better-than-expected revenue in North America in the first quarter.

Intuitive Surgical Inc fell 7.2% and was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 after the surgical robotics maker’s quarterly profit missed analysts’ estimates.

Kimberly-Clark Corp gained 5.8%, touching a near two-year high, after the consumer products maker reported better-than-expected earnings.

The PHLX Housing index fell 1.2% after data showed U.S. home sales fell more than expected in March, pointing to continued weakness in the housing market.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.69-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.51-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 15 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 30 new highs and 64 new lows. (Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Susan Thomas)

Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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