Stocks Slip to Start the Week on Disappointing Earnings

By Akane Otani and Riva Gold Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks fall after slew of earnings reports

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-- Nikkei on record streak after Japan elections

-- European stocks edge higher

A flurry of downbeat updates from American companies dragged down U.S. stocks Monday.

Major indexes were little changed in early trading then slid into the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending at its session low.

Still, stocks have been generally resilient. Monday's modest decline of 0.2% for the blue-chip index was its biggest since early September.

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Analysts and investors have attributed the stability to a period of solid earnings and economic growth.

Many expect corporate news to drive much of the action in the coming days, with nearly 200 companies in the S&P 500 on this week's earnings calendar, according to FactSet.

"Listening to companies on their earnings calls, I think the general trend is still looking pretty positive," said Jeremy Bryan, a portfolio manager at Gradient Investments.

While some sectors like the insurance industry are expected to report weaker results than in previous years, partially because of damage from hurricanes earlier this year, "we're looking through the one-time hits and still expecting robust growth into 2018," Mr. Bryan said.

The Dow industrials fell 54.67 points to 23273.96. The S&P 500 dropped 10.23 points, or 0.4%, to 2564.98 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 42.23 points, or 0.6%, to 6586.83. All three indexes closed at records on Friday.

Hasbro shares shed $8.44, or 8.6%, to $89.75 after the toy maker posted earnings and sales results that beat analysts' expectations, but gave a downbeat projection for sales in the key holiday period.

Shares of Mattel, a rival toy maker, dropped 51 cents, or 3.2%, to 15.46.

State Street, which posted better-than-expected earnings but reported foreign-exchange trading results that disappointed some analysts, fell 2.95, or 3%, to 96.17.

General Electric slid 1.51, or 6.3%, to 22.32, and posted its biggest one-day percentage decline since August 2011 after several analysts cut their price targets for the stock following the company's latest earnings report, which slashed 2017 projections.

GE's stock has fallen 29% so far this year, putting it on pace for its worst year since 2008.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.2% as gains in technology companies offset declines in the banking sector.

Investors this week will be watching closely for the European Central Bank's plans to announce the fate of its giant bond-buying program at its meeting on Thursday.

This "may be a potential turning point in the timeline for withdrawing accommodation," said Holly MacDonald, chief investment strategist at Bessemer Trust, noting the European Central Bank is facing constraints on continuing its program of quantitative easing.

Still, with the move well-telegraphed to markets and no interest rate increase on the horizon for some time, the ECB's October meeting is unlikely to ruffle bond markets much, she said.

U.S. government bonds strengthened Monday, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note falling to 2.375% from 2.381% on Friday. Yields fall as bond prices rise.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 1.1%, rounding out its longest-ever winning streak with a 15th session of consecutive gains, after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won a national election by a landslide.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index reversed its opening gains to trade down 0.6% as investors turned cautious on Chinese banks ahead of their earnings releases this week and declines in property stocks weighed on the index.

Write to Akane Otani at akane.otani@wsj.com and Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 23, 2017 17:35 ET (21:35 GMT)