(Reuters) – The S&P 500 index pared early gains to tread water on Monday, as investors awaited key central bank meetings for direction on the path of interest rates and earnings from marquee names including Facebook and Amazon that are set to report this week.
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., July 16, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Shares of Boeing Co (BA.N) fell 1.3% after rating agency Fitch revised its outlook on the planemaker to “negative’ from “stable”, pressuring the blue-chip Dow index .DJI, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq was lifted by chipmakers.
“Markets are struggling to hold early gains as investors start to fret about key upcoming central bank meetings. The main focus on an otherwise quiet day is what the ECB and the Fed will do,” said Chris Beauchamp, an analyst at London-based trading platform IG.
The European Central Bank meets on Thursday and money markets are pricing in a more than 50% chance of a 10 basis point cut in interest rates. Federal Reserve officials are set to meet next week, where they are widely expected to lower rates by at least 25 bps.
Hopes of an interest rate cut have helped Wall Street’s main indexes recover from a slump in May and hit record levels.
The technology index .SPLRCT rose 1.04% and was the only major S&P sector trading higher, while the Philadelphia chip index rose 1.77%.
Chip stocks were lifted on news that White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow will host a meeting with executives of semiconductor and software companies on Monday to discuss a U.S. ban on sales to China’s Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL].
Second-quarter earnings have been mixed so far, with major banks raising concerns about profit growth in a low interest rate environment. Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and International Business Machines (IBM.N) on the other hand have reported better-than-expected earnings.
“We have had our first week of earnings season and the overall results have been much better than feared … we like technology this earnings season,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.
About 30% of S&P 500 companies are set to report results this week and profits at the companies are now estimated to rise about 1%, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
Facebook Inc (FB.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Google-parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) are reporting between Wednesday and Thursday.
At 11:29 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 35.43 points, or 0.13%, at 27,118.77, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 2.02 points, or 0.07%, at 2,978.63. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 37.73 points, or 0.46%, at 8,184.22.
On the trade front, the South China Morning Post reported U.S. trade negotiators will likely visit China next week for their first face-to-face talk with Chinese officials since the G20 meeting.
Among other stocks, Halliburton Co (HAL.N) rose 6.8%, the most among S&P 500 companies, after the oilfield services provider’s second-quarter profit beat analysts’ estimates.
Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) was up 3.3%, after Goldman Sachs upgraded its shares to “buy”.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.15-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.18-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded three new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 37 new highs and 76 new lows.
Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Karina Dsouza; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Anil D’Silva