Reuters

(Reuters)

Wall Street Weighed Down by Lower Oil, Weak Earnings

Stocks Reuters

U.S. stock indexes were slightly lower on Thursday as oil prices fell and Travelers and Verizon reported weak results.

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Crude prices fell nearly 2 percent, but were hovering near five-month highs after the International Energy Agency said 2016 would see the biggest fall in non-OPEC production in more than two decades.

The S&P 500 has come closer to its record high of 2,134.72, riding on better-than-expected results and a recent rebound in oil.

S&P 500 companies are seen reporting a 7.5 percent fall in first-quarter profit on average, and a 1.3 percent decline in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

However, market analysts say investors seem to be looking past the lowered expectations for earnings and revenue growth, and booking short-term profits.

"I think the market is extremely tired," said Matthew Tuttle, chief executive, Tuttle Tactical Management in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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"We do think we're going to make a run at the all-time high, but ... I don't see how we just totally take off again without some sort of pause," he said.

At 9:41 a.m. ET (1341 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was down 35.55 points, or 0.2 percent, at 18,060.72, the S&P 500 was down 3.82 points, or 0.18 percent, at 2,098.58 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 4.10 points, or 0.08 percent, at 4,944.03.

Seven of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, led by the 1.6 percent decline in the telecom sector, which was dragged down by Verizon.

The company's shares fell 2.5 percent to $50.44 after its profit met expectations and the company said an ongoing strike by its wireline workers was expected to hurt earnings in the current quarter.

Revenue growth remains a key influence. American Express shares were up 2.7 percent after revenue rose for the first time in five quarters and Yum Brands up 3.2 percent, while Mattel sank 5.4 percent after sales fell.

Under Armor rose 7.5 percent to $47.18, while General Motors rose 3.1 percent to $33.09 after both joined a raft of companies that reported better-than-expected profits.

Travelers fell 3.3 percent to $112 after the property and casualty insurer reported a 17 percent fall in profit. The stock was the biggest drag on the Dow.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,371 to 1,267. On the Nasdaq, 1,226 issues rose and 1,017 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed eight new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 23 new highs and one low.

 

(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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