S&P 500 ekes out gain, enough to extend winning streak

U.S. stock indexes took a round trip Monday, erasing their early-morning losses to end the day close to where they started.

The S&P 500 eked out a small gain, enough to prolong its winning streak to eight days, its longest in a year and a half. But the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended lower due to another big loss for Boeing.

Most stock movements were only modest, and the market was nearly evenly split between winners and losers as investors looked ahead to a busy week for markets with updates scheduled for corporate earnings, the U.S. economy and global trade.

The S&P 500 rose 3.03 points, or 0.1%, to 2,895.77. It climbed to within 1.2% of its record, which was set in September, and had been down as much as 0.4% in morning trading.

The Dow slipped 83.97, or 0.3%, to 26,341.02, and the Nasdaq gained 15.19, or 0.2%, to 7,953.88. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks fell 3.55, or 0.2%, to 1,579.00.

Boeing was one of the biggest movers on the quiet Monday, slumping 4.4% after saying late Friday that it will cut production of its 737 Max plane. Regulators around the world grounded the jet model after it was involved in two separate fatal crashes that occurred within weeks of each other.

Boeing's struggles have dragged on other stocks, including its customers and its suppliers. Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, an aerospace supplier, fell 5.1%, and Southwest Airlines lost 2.5%.

On the winning side were energy stocks, which benefited from yet another climb for the price of oil.

Since hitting a bottom below $43 per barrel in December, benchmark U.S. crude has gained more than $20. It rose $1.32 to settle at $64.40 per barrel Monday. Brent crude rose 76 cents to $71.10 per barrel.

The gains helped send energy stocks in the S&P 500 index 0.5% higher, the biggest gain among the 11 sectors that make up the index.

The market's trend has been decidedly upward in recent weeks as stocks have grinded higher, mostly in small increments. It follows a torrid start to the year, after the Federal Reserve eased fears about a recession by saying it may not raise interest rates at all in 2019.

Later this week, investors will get more clues about the Fed's intentions. The central bank will release the minutes from its last policy meeting on Wednesday, and a report on consumer prices the same day will show whether inflation remains modest, which would give the Fed more leeway to keep interest rates low.

Earnings reporting season will begin in earnest at the end of this week, with JPMorgan Chase and other big banks set to tell investors how much they earned during the first three months of the year. Expectations are low for the market broadly, and analysts are forecasting the first drop in S&P 500 profits in years.

That puts more focus on what CEOs say about their profit prospects for the rest of the year. Analysts are expecting profit growth to resume after the weak first quarter, and if CEOs undercut those beliefs, it would put downward pressure on stock prices.

"We're watching the earnings and the drivers of earnings," said Doug Ramsey, chief investment officer of Leuthold Group. He's paying particular attention to how much in profit companies are able to hold onto from each $1 in revenue, as wages and interest expenses on their debts rise.

Investors are also watching across the Atlantic, as the U.K. prime minister prepares to meet continental European leaders ahead of a Friday deadline, when the United Kingdom is scheduled to depart the European Union. Economists worry about the drag on trade and the economy if the departure happens without a withdrawal agreement.

All this comes against a backdrop of heightened worries about global economic growth and a global trade war. Growth has slowed, and investors are debating how much last week's stronger-than-expected report on U.S. jobs changes the picture.

China's official news agency said Sunday that trade talks with the U.S. in Washington last week "achieved new progress" but did not elaborate on where or when further discussions will happen. Beijing and Washington are working to end a standoff over Beijing's industrial and technology policies that has shaken financial markets and darkened the world economic outlook.

Overseas markets were mixed Monday. The FTSE 100 in London rose 0.1%, while France's CAC 40 slipped 0.1% and Germany's DAX lost 0.4%. Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.2%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.5% and the Kospi in South Korea was virtually flat.

The dollar slipped to 111.53 Japanese yen from 111.71 yen late Friday. The euro rose to $1.1261 from $1.1218, and the British pound climbed to $1.3066 from $1.3029.

In commodities markets, gold rose $6.30 to $1,301.90 per ounce, silver gained 13 cents to $15.22 per ounce and copper rose 4 cents to $2.93 per pound. Natural gas rose 4 cents to $2.71 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil gained 1 cent to $2.06 per gallon and wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.99 per gallon.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note ticked up to 2.52% from 2.50% late Friday.


AP Business Writer Elaine Kurtenbach contributed from Bangkok.