S&P pulls back from record

July 19, 2016 04:19 PM

The S&P 500 pulled back from record highs on today, while the Dow industrials edged up for an eighth straight day of gains, as investors digested mixed earnings reports amid lowered expectations for global economic growth.

Netflix's disappointing quarterly results weighed on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, while Johnson & Johnson's strong earnings and forecast helped prop up the Dow.

The International Monetary Fund cut its global growth forecasts for the next two years, citing uncertainty over Britain's looming exit from the European Union.

Even with the economic concerns triggered by Britain's recent vote, the S&P 500 and Dow have hit record highs in the past week. But investors are closely watching U.S. corporate earnings for signs of whether the momentum for equities can be maintained.

"There’s enough uncertainty out there in a market that’s done pretty well as of late to cause people to take some money off the table today," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 25.96 points, or 0.14%, to 18,559.01, setting another closing record. The Dow's eighth straight session of gains marked its longest winning streak since March 2013.

The S&P 500 lost 3.11 points, or 0.14%, to 2,163.78 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 19.41 points, or 0.38%, to 5,036.37.

The S&P 500 had closed at a record high yesterday.

Eight of 10 S&P sectors finished lower. Materials and energy shares lagged as a rise in the U.S. dollar put pressure on crude oil and other commodities denominated in the currency.

Second-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to fall by 4.3%, according to Thomson Reuters, as reporting season kicks into gear this week.

"If you see a lot of disappointment and disappointing outlooks, or confusion over Brexit and what that’s going to mean to some companies, you could see the market pull in and take some profits," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management in New York. 

Netflix slumped 13.1% after its subscriber numbers missed estimates. It was one of the biggest drags on the Nasdaq and the S&P 500.

Goldman Sachs dropped 1.2%, with most of its businesses under pressure even as the Wall Street bank reported a higher quarterly profit.

Shares of health insurers were stung by reports that U.S. antitrust officials plan to block Anthem's  acquisition of Cigna and Aetna's takeover of Humana.

After the market closed, Microsoft shares rose 4% following its results. During regular trading ahead of the report, the company's shares fell 1.6%.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.43-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.87-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 23 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 70 new highs and 28 new lows. 

About 5.6 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, well below the 7.5 billion daily average over the past 20 sessions.

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