Boeing woes, earnings anxiety push Wall Street lower
(Reuters) – U.S. stocks pulled back on Monday after the S&P 500’s seven-day winning streak, as Boeing shares fell and investors braced for what could be the first decline in corporate earnings since 2016.
Shares of Boeing Co dropped more than 4 percent, accounting for more than three-quarters of Dow industrial’s fall, after the company said it would cut production of its 737 MAX aircraft by nearly 20 percent.
The benchmark index is about less than 2% away from its record closing high hit in September, lifted by the Federal Reserve’s decision to hold off on interest rate hikes in 2019 and on hopes of a trade deal with China.
However, expectations of disappointing earnings growth and worries about economic slowdown could start to weigh on the markets.
Major banks are slated to kick off first-quarter earnings season later in the week and analysts expect a 2.2 percent fall in S&P 500 earnings, according to Refinitiv data.
“While we underestimated the impact of the Fed’s pivot on equity prices, we see the earnings recession as just the beginning,” Morgan Stanley analysts led by Michael Wilson wrote in a note.
“We think there will need to be some evidence of a real turn in earnings growth for U.S. stocks to advance much further.”
The S&P 500 is trading 16.6 times its next 12-month earnings estimate, up from 14.6 times during the peak of December sell-off but below the 17.3 times at its record high hit in late September.
The S&P industrial index fell 0.95%, weighing the most on the benchmark.
Another big decliner in the sector was General Electric Co, which fell 5.9% after J.P.Morgan downgraded the conglomerate’s shares to “underweight”, saying Wall Street is overprojecting a bounce in cash flow in the coming years.
At 10:01 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 152.76 points, or 0.58%, at 26,272.23, the S&P 500 was down 10.18 points, or 0.35%, at 2,882.56 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 34.58 points, or 0.44%, at 7,904.12.
Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower. Energy stocks, among few gainers, posted a 0.3% rise on oil bounce.
Micron Technology was down 0.9% after Cowen and Co cut its rating on the chipmaker’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform”.
Procter & Gamble Co climbed 0.7% after Wells Fargo raised its rating on the company’s stock to “outperform” from “market perform”.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.65-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.03-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 13 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 27 new highs and 15 new lows.
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