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US stocks waver as investors digest first round of earnings

Posted

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks were mixed in midday trading on Tuesday as investors digested the first significant round of fourth-quarter corporate earnings reports.

Major banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, reported surprisingly good earnings, though Wells Fargo disappointed investors. The financial sector held up better than most.

Stocks were split between winners and losers as a cautious mood replaced the previous day’s record-setting rally driven by optimism that trade relations between the U.S. and China were improving.

Technology stocks led the decline. Chipmaker Nvidia fell 1.5%.

Boston Scientific fell 7.9% after giving Wall Street a weak fourth-quarter sales update. Those losses played a large part in offsetting gains elsewhere in the health care sector.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 1.83% from 1.84% late Monday.

Wall Street is facing a busy week. Several other big companies will report their earnings including UnitedHealth Group and Bank of America on Wednesday. The world’s largest economies are also set to sign a “Phase 1” deal on Wednesday and have taken measures to tone down their conflict. The U.S., notably, has dropped its designation of China as a currency manipulator in advance of the signing.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 0.1% as of 11:45 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 93 points, or 0.3%, to 28,999. The Nasdaq fell 0.2%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 0.2%. Asian markets were mixed and markets in Europe climbed.

TRADING UP: JPMorgan Chase rose 2.1% after the banking giant reported a surge in profits because of a blowout quarter from its trading desks. The earnings handily beat analysts’ forecasts. Citigroup climbed 2.4% after reporting a similar jump in profits because of its trading operations.

Wells Fargo did not fare as well. The bank's stock slumped 3.9% as its profit and revenue dropped because of hefty costs and lower interest rates. Wells Fargo is is still under growth restrictions by regulators after years of missteps, beginning in 2016 with the uncovering of millions of fake checking accounts its employees opened to meet sales quotas.

TAKEOFF: Delta Air Lines rose 3.9% after the company increased its fourth-quarter profit to $1.1 billion by adding more flights over the holiday period and packing them even more full of passengers. The results beat Wall Street’s forecasts. Delta's solid report helped lift some of its rivals. United Airlines rose 1.9% and American Airlines gained 1.7%.

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