U.S. Stocks Wobble on Mixed Earnings

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04/15/2019 | 03:28 pm

By Donato Paolo Mancini and Akane Otani

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 69 points, or 0.3%, to 26341, erasing small gains from earlier in the session. The S&P 500 fell 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.6%.

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. Earnings reports released before the opening bell Monday from Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, M&T Bank and Charles Schwab sent shares of lenders and brokerages swinging.

Goldman shares slipped 3.1% after the bank reported first-quarter profit tumbled, hit by quiet trading and underwriting. Citigroup shares bounced higher premarket, then fell 0.6% after the opening bell, weighed down by a worse-than-expected slide in revenue.

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.

"Markets currently only want to know whether a rebound of the global economy is in the cards or not," said Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING in Germany.

Market moves were muted Monday, with most S&P 500 sectors advancing or retreating only slightly for the day.

Energy shares in the S&P 500 fell 0.3% 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.

American Airlines shares lost 1.1% after saying Sunday that it would extend flight cancellations through mid-August because of the grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX jetliners.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 edged up less than 0.1%, 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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