Stocks mixed; tech firms on roll
NEW YORK — Stocks mostly fell Monday and broadmarket indexes inched modestly backward at the start of a busy week of corporate earnings reports and a meeting of the Federal Reserve. Technology stocks, though, added to their big gains for the year and helped push the Nasdaq composite to another record.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 2.63 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,469.91 after nine of the 11 sectors that make up the index logged losses. It marks the first three-day losing streak for the index in a month, though it’s still close to its record.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 66.90 points, or 0.3 percent, to 21,513.17. The Nasdaq composite rose 23.05 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,410.81.
The Nasdaq is up 19.1 percent this year, nearly double the rise for broader-market indexes as investors have jumped into technology stocks in their search for strong growth as the global economy remains sluggish.
Amazon and several other big-name tech companies are set to release their secondquarter results in coming days, part of a busy week in which more than a third of S&P 500 companies are scheduled to report.
Expectations are high. Analysts forecast that tech stocks in the S&P 500 will report 16 percent growth in earnings per share, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. That’s up from a forecast a month ago of 10.9 percent growth. Analysts say the companies will need to follow through on the expectations to justify the big moves their stock prices have already made.
“The group did have a strong start to the year, and there are some questions about how long tech can continue to rally,” said Ann Miletti, senior portfolio manager at Wells Fargo Asset Management. “Overall, what we’re believing to be true is that second-quarter results are going to come in, in general, better than expected. But the second-half outlook is the most important thing, and we’ll see.”
The International Monetary Fund on Monday held its 2017 forecast for global economic growth steady at 3.5 percent, but that masks some movements underneath. It raised its forecast for economic growth in Europe, Japan and China, but it also cut its outlook for the United States on the assumption that politicians in Washington won’t be as helpful for growth as earlier expected.
The Fed’s policymaking committee begins a two-day meeting today. The Fed decided last month to raise shortterm interest rates for the third time since December. The central bank also announced plans to start gradually paring its bond holdings later this year, a move that could cause rates to rise. Most investors expect the Fed to hold rates steady at this week’s meeting and possibly raise them one more time this year.
Shares of WebMD Health soared $10.91, or 19.8 percent, to $66.10 after a portfolio company of investment firm KKR said it will buy the health information website for $66.50 per share in cash.
Natural gas fell 7 cents to $2.90 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline slipped a penny to $1.56 a gallon, and heating oil was nearly flat at $1.52 a gallon.
Gold fell 60 cents to settle at $1,254.30 per ounce, silver slipped 1 cent to $16.44 per ounce, and copper added a penny to $2.74 per pound.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note ticked up to 2.25 percent from 2.24 percent late Friday, and the two-year yield rose to 1.36 percent from 1.34 percent.