U.S. Stocks Slip on Mixed Earnings

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04/15/2019 | 08:25 pm

By Donato Paolo Mancini and Akane Otani

U.S. stocks fell Monday as a fresh batch of earnings reports sent bank shares sliding.

Stock trading has been muted the past few weeks as investors have waited to get a sense of how U.S. corporations fared in the first quarter.

With earnings for S&P 500 companies widely expected to decline in the first quarter from the year-earlier period, analysts and investors said they would be trying to get a sense of whether growth is set to falter further or rebound in the following quarters.

In addition to earnings, analysts are expected to get a look in the coming days at U.S. housing starts and retail sales and first-quarter gross domestic product from China.

"We've seen some slowdown in data that gives me pause," said Shana Sissel, a portfolio manager at CLS Investments, who added that she would be closely watching how much companies overshoot or undershoot analysts' earnings estimates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 28 points, or 0.1%, to 26385, erasing small gains from earlier in the session. The S&P 500 fell less than 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.1%.

Stocks began the day higher and then lost ground heading into the afternoon, with most of the S&P 500's sectors trading lower for the day.

Goldman shares slipped 3.8% after the bank reported first-quarter profit tumbled, hit by quiet trading and underwriting. Citigroup shares bounced higher premarket, then fell 0.06%, weighed down by a worse-than-expected slide in revenue.

Energy shares in the S&P 500 fell 0.6% as U.S. crude oil retreated, pressured by indications that Russia could boost output in an attempt to regain some share of the global oil market.

Meanwhile, airline shares continued to lose ground as analysts weighed fallout from the grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX jetliners.

American Airlines shares lost 2.4% after the carrier said Sunday that it would extend flight cancellations through mid-August because of the groundings. Southwest, which is also canceling flights, lost 1.5%, while Boeing fell 1.1%.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 edged up 0.1% for its fourth consecutive session of gains, boosted by gains in shares of banks and insurers.

Indexes across Asia were split between small gains and losses, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng losing 0.3% and South Korea's Kospi rising 0.4%.

Chinese stocks have jumped higher this year, lifted in part by signs that officials from the U.S. and China are inching closer to a trade deal.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that the countries were "getting close to the final round of concluding issues," adding that officials were set to have two phone calls this week with their Chinese counterparts.

"It's very clear that there's a matching will to de-escalate," said Trinh Nguyen, a senior economist at Natixis. "The extent to which it will be de-escalated is the question."

Write to Akane Otani at akane.otani@wsj.com

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