US stocks move sideways as earnings reports ramp up

The Associated Press
AP

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks headed sideways in afternoon trading as investors assessed a mixed bag of corporate earnings and economic reports.

Technology companies fared the worst, with some of the heaviest declines coming from chipmakers. Intel fell 1.9% and Texas Instruments fell 1.1%.

Johnson & Johnson led health care stocks lower. The health care and pharmaceutical company beat Wall Street’s second quarter financial forecasts, but its full-year profit forecast remained mostly below analysts’ projections.

Financial stocks gave up early gains and turned lower as a slide from banks offset solid gains from Goldman Sachs and Charles Schwab.

Energy companies also fell broadly.

A surprisingly good retail sales report for June had little impact on consumer product makers, though it did help push bond prices lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.13%.

Industrial companies fared the best. Union Pacific rose 2.2% and 3M rose 2.1%.

The latest round of corporate financial reports ramps up this week and investors have low expectations. Wall Street is forecasting a 3% drop in profit for S&P 500 companies. It is set to be the first back-to-back quarterly decline in three years.

The influx of earnings reports are coming in ahead of a highly anticipated Federal Reserve meeting at the end of the month. Wall Street expects the central bank to raise interest rates to help secure U.S. economic growth threatened by a trade war with China.

KEEPING SCORE: Stocks were split evenly between gainers and losers on the New York Stock Exchange, though every major index edged lower. The S&P 500 index fell 0.3% as of 1:15 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22 points, or 0.1%, to 27,337. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.4%.

ANALYST’S TAKE: Investors are looking for reasons to remain cautious as companies release their most recent financial results and give forecasts for the remainder of the year, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer for Cresset Wealth management.

It’s still early to tally results, but so far the share of companies beating profit forecasts has been high while many are reporting revenue shortfalls.

“That certainly doesn’t bode well for growth in the second half,” he said.

Investors are going to pay close attention to any second-half forecasts as companies continue to deal with trade uncertainties and the impact they could have on investments and expansion.

SOUR DOUGH: Domino’s Pizza fell 7.7% after the pizza chain fell far short of Wall Street forecasts for a key sales measure during the second quarter.

SHOCKING FORECAST: Arrow Electronics fell 2% after the company slashed its profit forecast for the second quarter because of weak demand. The electronics company also said it will close a unit that focuses on disposing of personal computers and other technology.

BURGER BOOST: Blue Apron surged 70% after the meal-kit company said it will start offering recipes with Beyond Meat’s plant-based food. The company will start offering the options in August. Despite the surge, Blue Apron is still down more than 90% from its initial public offering two years ago.

KEEP ON TRUCKIN’: JB Hunt Transport Services jumped 6.2% after the company beat Wall Street’s second quarter profit forecasts. The trucking and logistics company also told investors that it expects volume will pick up in the second half of the year. Several other trucking and cargo-related companies also made gains. Ryder System rose 2.5%, Old Dominion rose 2.8% and Union Pacific rose 1.6%.

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