Industrial companies led U.S. stocks mostly lower in midday trading Tuesday as investors sized up the latest company earnings news. Packaged food and beverage companies were also among the big laggards. Health-care companies posted some of the biggest gains. Oil prices were down, giving up early gains.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 1 point, or 0.1 percent, at 2,556 as of 1:11 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 18 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,975, lifted by a big gain in UnitedHealth. The average briefly rose above 23,000 points for the first time. The Nasdaq composite slid 1 point to 6,622. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was down a fraction of a point to 1,502. More stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange. The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq each posted record highs on Monday.
THE QUOTE: “Expectations of ongoing earnings growth are reasonably strong, but there may be a bit of a wait-and-see at this point in time given the run in the equity markets,” said Jason Pride, director of investment strategy at Glenmede.
FEELING FIT: UnitedHealth Group, the country’s biggest health insurer, rose 5.7 percent after reporting earnings that beat analysts’ estimates. The stock gained $11 to $204.20. Johnson & Johnson added 2.7 percent after reporting a strong quarter of its own. Its shares picked up $3.62 to $139.74.
BANK ON IT: Morgan Stanley rose 0.9 percent after the investment bank served up quarterly results that beat Wall Street’s expectations. The stock gained 42 cents to $49.36. Goldman Sachs also delivered earnings that exceeded financial analysts’ expectations; but its trading desks — which are weighted toward bonds, currencies and commodities — struggled this quarter, as did those at its competitors JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America. Goldman’s shares were down $5.16, or 2.1 percent, to $237.25.
AERIAL TUSSLE: Boeing declined after rival aircraft maker Airbus took a majority stake in Bombardier’s C-series passenger jets. Boeing was down $1.21, or 0.5 percent, to $258.54.
BINGE SPENDER: Netflix slid 1.9 percent after the company reported that it gained subscribers in its latest quarter, but also said its debt and programming costs continue to rise. Its shares fell $3.86 to $198.82.
GETTING TOGETHER: Impax Laboratories slumped 7.3 percent after the generic drug company said it will combine with competitor Amneal Holdings, which will own 75 percent of the combined company. Impax lost $1.45 to $18.50.
ECONOMIC REPORTS: The Federal Reserve said U.S. industrial production rose a solid 0.3 percent last month, as manufacturing of automobiles, home electronics and appliances increased. The gains were limited due to the lingering damage from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Separately, a gauge of homebuilders’ confidence rose more than expected this month as builders looked past a recent slowdown in new home sales and the risk of rising labor and materials costs in the wake of the two hurricanes.
BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.31 percent from 2.30 percent late Monday.
ENERGY: Oil prices veered lower, erasing gains from earlier in the day. Benchmark U.S. crude slid 36 cents to $51.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 38 cents to $57.44 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.29 yen from 112.22 yen. The euro weakened to $1.1751 from $1.1792. The pound fell to $1.3179 from $1.3243 after inflation figures cemented expectations of a rate increase soon but Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned about the economic impact of Brexit.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX fell 0.1 percent, while France’s CAC 40 was essentially flat. London’s FTSE 100 dipped 0.1 percent. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was unchanged ahead of a twice-a-decade congress Wednesday held by China’s ruling Communist Party. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.4 percent, while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent. Seoul’s Kospi added 0.2 percent.