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Stocks - Market Closes Little Changed as Traders Cautiously Await Earnings

Stock MarketsApr 11, 2019 04:50PM ET
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© Reuters. - Wall Street finished about flat Thursday, with investors skittish ahead of earnings reports from major Wall Street banks due Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.05%, the S&P 500 was flat, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.21%.

A rise in financial stocks ahead of the earnings from JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) battled with investor fears that the first-quarter earnings season may turn out to be the most challenging in recent quarters.

First-quarter earnings are now expected to decline 4.2% year over year for S&P 500 companies, according to FactSet, compared to a 3.9% decline forecasted just one week ago. That would mark the largest year-over-year decline in earnings since the first quarter of 2016.

The primary focus for investors will be on companies' guidance as it "will let us know what to expect, whether (potentially negative earnings) is a one-quarter blip or if we're moving into an earnings recession," said Jim Powers of Delegate Advisors.

Tech stocks were among the weakest in today's trading, led by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) after Credit Suisse said it expected iPhone sales, which make up about 60% of the tech giant's total sales, to decline double digits in 2019.

"(The) iPhone is in a difficult spot with units (more than) 20% below peak as users are holding onto their devices longer than ever and price hikes have likely run their course” said Matt Cabral, Credit Suisse’s director of equity research.

Among other FAANG stocks, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) ended the day 1% higher, even as Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) is set to unveil more details about its rival streaming service Disney+ at an investor day event at 5 PM ET (21:00 GMT).

Energy stocks, meanwhile, were little changed on the day as a decline in U.S. oil prices kept a lid on gains.

On the trade front, meanwhile, investors digested news pointing to further progress on a China-U.S. deal with The Wall Street Journal reporting that China agreed to open its cloud-computing sector to foreign companies.

This comes a day after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said an enforcement mechanism, one of the main sticking points in the talks, was nearly finalized.

In other news, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) fell 2.8% after Nikkei Asian Review reported that the electric automaker and Panasonic were halting plans to expand capacity at its Gigafactory 1 near Reno, Nev.

Tesla disputed the report saying "contrary to what is implied in this report, our demand for cells continues to outpace supply. It remains the fundamental constraint on Tesla vehicle and Powerwall/Powerpack production."

On the economic front, stronger-than-expected U.S. wholesale inflation and another drop in jobless claims eased fears of slowing growth.

Top S&P 500 Gainers and Losers Today:

Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST), Kroger (NYSE:KR) and Fluor (NYSE:FLR) were among the top S&P 500 gainers for the session.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH), Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) and Diamondback Energy (NASDAQ:FANG) were among the worst S&P 500 performers of the session.

Stocks - Market Closes Little Changed as Traders Cautiously Await Earnings

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Tony Hepner
Tony Hepner Apr 11, 2019 8:24PM ET
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Big earnings or any kind of earnings = 2900 threshold for the SP 500
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