U.S. Stocks Slip Ahead of Key Fed Meeting, Busy Earnings Week


Major U.S. stock indexes closed mostly lower Monday as investors turned cautious ahead of a key Federal Reserve interest policy announcement and other potentially market-moving developments on tap for this week.

Banks, retailers and communications companies took the brunt of the selling. Those losses were partially offset by gains in health care and household goods makers. Utilities and real estate stocks also rose, as traders shifted funds into less risky assets.

The modest slide cut into some of the market’s gains from Friday, when the benchmark S&P 500 hit an all-time high.

Traders are expecting that the Federal Reserve will announce on Wednesday that it is cutting interest rates for the first time in a decade to help ensure U.S. economic growth in the face of trade uncertainty.

Investors will also be wading through the heaviest slate of the current corporate earnings reporting season this week. And they’ll be keeping an eye on trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, which resume Tuesday, and on a key government jobs report due out Friday.

The S&P 500 index slipped 4.89 points, or 0.2%, to 3,020.97. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 28.90 points, or 0.1%, to 27,221.35.

The Nasdaq composite fell 36.88 points, or 0.4%, to 8,293.33. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies slid 9.94, or 0.6%, to 1,569.02.

Slightly more stocks rose than declined on the New York Stock Exchange. Major stock indexes in Europe closed mostly lower.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.06% from 2.08% late Friday.

Despite Monday’s selling, the market’s record run at the end of last week kept the broader market on track for another month of gains. The S&P 500 is up 2.7% in July and the Nasdaq is up 3.6%.

Financial stocks accounted for a big share of the selling Monday. Raymond James Financial slid 3.5% and Wells Fargo & Co. dropped 2.1%. The sector fell as bond yields dropped, which pulls interest rates on mortgages and other loans lower.

Retailers and other consumer-oriented companies also weighed on the market, with Amazon sliding 1.6% and discount chain Dollar Tree losing 2.1%. Facebook dropped 1.9% and Dish Network fell 3.1% as part of a broad slump in communications stocks.

Gains in health care companies partly offset some of those losses. The sector was mostly propped up by pharmaceutical companies ahead of some key earnings.

Companies are just about halfway done with corporate earnings season and the slowdown in profit growth isn’t as severe as analysts forecast.

Trade also remains on investors’ radar. The U.S. and China head into another round of trade negotiations on Tuesday.

Benchmark crude oil rose 67 cents to settle at $56.87 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gained 25 cents to close at $63.71 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline fell 1 cent to $1.86 per gallon. Heating oil declined 1 cent to $1.91 per gallon. Natural gas fell 3 cents to $2.14 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose $1.13 to $1,419.60 per ounce, silver rose 4 cents to $16.37 per ounce and copper rose 1 cent to $2.69 per pound.

The dollar rose to 108.80 Japanese yen from 108.71 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1146 from $1.1126.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!