US stocks close mostly lower ahead of earnings reporting season

U.S. stocks slipped in thin trading Thursday as investors turned cautious ahead of the start of the corporate earnings reporting season, amid further evidence of a global economic slowdown.

But banking shares rose before Wells Fargo and JPMorgan report first-quarter earnings on Friday which may provide a glimpse of the health of the financial sector and economic growth early in the year.

Overall though first-quarter earnings for the S&P 500 are expected to suffer the first decline in nearly three years. John Butters, senior earnings analyst at FactSet, said that more companies are cutting earnings guidance than usual.

Health-care companies led the decline Thursday a day after U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a “Medicare for All” plan to Congress, and after the Senate Finance committee hearing on the role pharmacy benefit managers play in drug pricing. But Boeing, still battling problems with its 737 Max after two recent crashes, broke a four-day losing streak.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 40211.72 +210.82 +0.53%
SP500 S&P 500 5631.22 +15.87 +0.28%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 18472.565651 +74.12 +0.40%

U.S. Treasury note yields rose after data showed a strong U.S. labor market with jobless claims falling to a 49-year low.  The dollar advanced the most in more than a week, while the pound fell as Prime Minister Theresa May accepted the European Union’s offer to push the Brexit deadline out six months

Tesla Inc. fell after Japan's Nikkei news service reported that concerns about weakening demand for Tesla vehicles have caused the electric vehicle maker and partner Panasonic Corporation to freeze plans to expand capacity of Gigafactory-1.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
JPM JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. 210.05 +5.11 +2.49%
WFC WELLS FARGO & CO. 57.73 +1.19 +2.10%
TSLA TESLA INC. 252.64 +4.41 +1.78%
UNH UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC. 515.37 +3.84 +0.75%
BA THE BOEING CO. 179.11 -3.20 -1.76%
BBBY n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. fell after the company’s full-year guidance disappointed investors, fourth-quarter sales missed estimates, and the retailer’s first-quarter earnings view also fell short.


Oil pulled back Thursday from its highest finish since last October after a report from the International Energy Agency said demand for crude offered “mixed signals” amid sluggishness in global economies.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange shed 76 cents, or 1.2%, to close at $63.85 a barrel.