Wall St Moves Lower on Mixed Earnings Reports


U.S. stocks ticked lower on Tuesday as mixed earnings reports dented investor optimism entering the earnings season, while lower expectations of global growth also weighed on sentiment.

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The S&P and the Nasdaq were pulled down by Netflix and health stocks, while the Dow's fall was cushioned by Johnson & Johnson's strong results.

Strong economic data had sent stocks on a record-setting run through most of last week, and second-quarter earnings reports are expected to justify higher valuations.

While most S&P companies that have reported so far have beaten profit estimates, their outlooks have not been as encouraging.

J&J, UnitedHealth, Goldman Sachs and Lockheed Martin all beat profit estimates for the quarter, but only J&J's stock stayed up after rising 2.1 percent to a record high of $125.75.

UnitedHealth fell 0.2 percent after saying the Obamacare program would reduce 2016 earnings; Goldman Sachs dropped 1.3 percent as its profit beat wasn't considered as impressive as those of its peers.

Lockheed Martin eased off a record high after saying it did not plan to step up production of its mainstay F-35 fighter jets program.

Netflix slumped 13.5 percent to $85.50 after its quarterly subscriber numbers and forecast missed estimates. It weighed the most on the Nasdaq and the S&P 500.

Also weighing on sentiment was the International Monetary Fund's move to cut its global growth forecasts for the next two years due to uncertainty over Britain's looming exit from the European Union.

"I think we are due for a period for digestion, perhaps a sideways trending market, as we let earnings catch up to the price appreciation from the past couple of weeks," said Terry Sandven, chief equities strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

The CBOE volatility index, known as Wall Street's fear gauge, rose for the first time in five days, indicating some uncertainty had crept back into the markets.

At 12:34 p.m. ET (1634 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 9.52 points, or 0.05 percent, at 18,523.53.

The S&P 500 was down 6.17 points, or 0.28 percent, at 2,160.72.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 19.80 points, or 0.39 percent, at 5,035.99.

All 10 major S&P indexes were lower, led by the materials sector's 0.86 percent decline.

Health stocks, which were higher at the open after J&J's results, dropped 0.37 percent, led by health insurers on reports that antitrust officials plan to block Anthem's acquisition of Cigna and Aetna's takeover of Humana.

The stocks were down between 2 percent and 5 percent, and also weighed on UnitedHealth, the biggest U.S. health insurer.

Microsoft, which reports after the close, was down 0.8 percent, weighing the most on tech stocks.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,625 to 1,199. On the Nasdaq, 1,416 issues fell and 1,209 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 15 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 49 new highs and 14 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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