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(Reuters)

Wall St Dragged Down by Oil, Lackluster Earnings

Markets Reuters

Wall Street was lower on Monday as a drop in oil prices, lackluster quarterly earnings and an impending Federal Reserve meeting weighed on investor sentiment.

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The central bank's policymakers are expected to hold interest rates steady when they meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, but may tweak their description of the economic outlook to reflect more benign conditions.

Oil prices fell more than 1 percent after traders cited reports of a supply buildup, interrupting the stock market's long bull run. Still, the S&P 500 remained just 2.5 percent short of its record.

Equities have slowed down in the past sessions as investors look for fresh catalysts to propel the indexes beyond their record highs. Underwhelming earnings and the upcoming Fed meeting have put investors in a risk-off mode.

"We have run into technical resistance now that we're near the record high," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

"People are taking some profits and stocks are looking a little bit expensive at the moment, especially since there is no earnings growth."

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At 12:39 p.m. ET (1639 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 109.51 points, or 0.61 percent, at 17,894.24, the S&P 500 was down 11.3 points, or 0.54 percent, at 2,080.28 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 23.69 points, or 0.48 percent, at 4,882.54.

Eight of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, with the energy index's 1.49 percent fall leading the decliners.

Apple was down 0.7 percent and was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, while Goldman Sachs' 1.4 percent fall weighed the most on the Dow.

Investors have been assessing first-quarter earnings, which are expected to decline 7.1 percent. Of the 132 S&P companies that have reported, 58 percent have reported revenue above analyst expectations, falling short of the long-term average of 60 percent, according to Thomson Reuters estimates.

Apple, Amazon and Boeing are scheduled to report later in the week.

Xerox shares fell 12.5 percent to $9.77 after the printer and copier maker reported lower revenue. The stock was on track for its worst day since September 2009.

Tribune Publishing soared 56 percent to $11.72 after Gannett offered to buy the owner of the Los Angeles Times. Gannett was up 4.6 percent at $16.49.

New U.S. single-family home sales unexpectedly fell in March, but the decline was concentrated in the West. The Commerce Department said new home sales decreased 1.5 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,206 to 717. On the Nasdaq, 1,844 issues fell and 883 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 4 new 52-week highs and 1 new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 24 new highs and 17 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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