S&P 500 Falls to Rare Loss, Hurt By Weak Bank Stocks

NEW YORK (AP) -

U.S. stock indexes edged lower on Monday, pulled down by sinking bank stocks, and the S&P 500 fell for just the third time in the last three weeks.

Goldman Sachs recorded one of the largest losses in the S&P 500 after describing a “muted start to the year,” even though its earnings for the first quarter still beat analysts’ expectations. Citigroup also slipped following its earnings report, as banks lead off a quarterly reporting season that analysts expect to be the weakest in nearly three years.

The S&P 500 lost 1.83 points, or 0.1%, to 2,905.58. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 27.53, or 0.1%, to 26,384.77, and the Nasdaq composite lost 8.15, or 0.1%, to 7,976.01. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks dropped 5.63, or 0.4%, to 1,579.17.

The S&P 500 nevertheless remains within 0.9% of its record following its torrid start to the year, after the Federal Reserve said it may not raise interest rates at all in 2019.

“I think we’re going to see equities continue to confound their critics and advance,” said Margie Patel, senior portfolio manager at Wells Fargo Asset Management.

Optimism has also grown that the U.S. and China can resolve their trade dispute. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that the world’s two largest economies were moving closer to an agreement.

Some of the market’s biggest losses Monday came from the financial sector. Lighter trading activity during the first three months of the year meant that Goldman Sachs’ revenue fell short of analysts’ estimates, and its shares lost 3.8%.

Like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup also reported stronger profit for the first three months than analysts expected. But its stock slipped 0.1%.

Alliance Data Systems sank to the largest loss in the S&P 500 after it agreed to sell its Epsilon business to Publicis Groupe for $4.4 billion in cash, less than what some analysts had valued the business at. Alliance Data Systems lost 9.3%.

On the winning side was Waste Management, which jumped after it agreed to buy its smaller rival, Advanced Disposal, for $3 billion. It will also assume $1.9 billion of debt in the deal.

Waste Management rose 2.4%, and Advanced Disposal surged 17.9%.

The yield on the 10 year Treasury note held steady at 2.55%.