US Stock Indexes Close Lower on Mixed Company Earnings
A choppy day of trading on Wall Street ended Tuesday with stocks closing lower after a sell-off in technology stocks strengthened toward the end of the day.
That late-afternoon burst of selling erased modest gains for the market, which was coming off two weeks of gains.
The major indexes wavered for much of the day between small gains and losses as investors weighed a mixed batch of earnings reports from McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble and other big companies.
Weak profits and sales pulled shares in McDonald’s lower.
#USDCNH futures at @HKEXGroup have traded below their 50-day moving average for two weeks after trading above it for about two months. Has the trend changed? #Renminbi #USD #CNH #FX #China pic.twitter.com/tlTQyEm9OH
— Trading Technologies (@Trading_Tech) October 23, 2019
Meanwhile, traders bid up shares in Procter & Gamble after the consumer products maker raised its profit forecast for the year following surprisingly good third-quarter earnings.
“We’re still waiting to see how earnings season shakes out,” said Karyn Cavanaugh, senior markets strategist at Voya Investment Management.
There’s been a couple of misses.”
The S&P 500 index fell 10.73 points, or 0.4%, to 2,995.99. The index spent most of the day at or above 3,000 and briefly climbed 0.3% before the late-afternoon slide.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 39.54 points, or 0.2%, to 26,788.10.
The Nasdaq, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, bore the brunt of the selling, losing 58.69 points, or 0.7%, to 8,104.30.
Smaller company stocks fared better than the rest of the market.
Bond prices rose.
Investors have been shifting their focus to corporate earnings reports as they wait for developments in the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.
Optimism over the latest round of talks, which for now have at least prevented the costly conflict from escalating further, helped put investors in a buying mood in recent weeks.
Analysts came into this latest earnings season expecting profits to decline overall for companies in the S&P 500.
Earnings growth fell slightly in the first and second quarters, according to data from FactSet, which was better than Wall Street’s expectation at the start of those reporting seasons.
“The market really moves on earnings,” Cavanaugh said.
While some of the company earnings on Tuesday were surprisingly good, a few large companies gave investors disappointing results that tipped the market into the red.
McDonald’s slid 5% after reporting that its third-quarter profit and revenue fell short of Wall Street’s forecast.
Travelers sank 8.3% after the insurance company reported earnings that fell far short of analysts’ forecast.
Companies with stronger quarterly results fared better.
Biogen soared 26.1% after the biotechnology giant handily beat Wall Street’s third-quarter profit and revenue forecasts.
The company’s gains gave a strong shot to the broader health care sector.
Procter & Gamble rose 2.6% on its solid quarterly report card.
The busy week of earnings continues Wednesday with reports from Boeing, Caterpillar, and Microsoft.
Technology companies accounted for most of the selling on Tuesday. Microsoft dropped 1.5%.
Communications services stocks also helped pull the market lower.
Facebook lost 3.9% following news that a state-level antitrust investigation into the social networking giant now has the backing of a bipartisan group of 47 attorneys general.
Benchmark crude oil rose 90 cents to settle at $54.21 a barrel.
Wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $1.61 per gallon.
Heating oil was unchanged at $1.94 per gallon.
Natural gas rose 3 cents to $2.27 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold fell 70 cents to $1,481.70 per ounce, silver fell 9 cents to $17.44 per ounce and copper fell 2 cents to $2.62 per pound.
The dollar fell to 108.46 Japanese yen from 108.58 yen on Monday.
Stocks in Europe finished higher after British lawmakers on Tuesday approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal in principle.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will “pause” the government’s planned Brexit legislation.