Wall Street comes off record highs ahead of big tech earnings

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July 27, 2021 7:57 PM

Apple, Microsoft and Google set to report results; GE rises on strong cash flow position; Chinese stocks extend declines

Apple, Microsoft, Google, Wall Street, Wall Street LatestWall Street's main indexes had inched up to record closing highs on Monday, carrying over momentum from a strong batch of corporate earnings last week

US stock indexes retreated from record highs on Tuesday ahead of earnings reports from the most valuable companies on Wall Street and in the run-up to the two-day Federal Reserve meeting. More than one-third of the S&P 500 is set to report quarterly results this week, led by Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet, the four largest U.S. companies by market value. Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft, which traded in a flat-to-slightly lower range, are set to report earnings after the market closes, while Amazon will report results on Thursday.

“The markets may be in a sideways, quiet mode until we get some of those results … generally it’s more reactive than it is proactive,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of Trading and Derivatives at Schwab Center for Financial Research. “The expectations for earnings growth are high. This is being compared to 2020, when the economy was shut down, and as a result, there’s a very low bar (for comparison).”Lower-than-expected capital goods data somewhat dented sentiment, while investors also remained on edge ahead of more cues from the central bank on when it intends to begin reining in its massive stimulus program. The two-day Fed meeting will begin later on Tuesday.

Frederick said the Fed was likely to stand pat on policy this week but could hint at its plans for tightening during the Jackson Hole Symposium in August. At 9:49 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 176.38 points, or 0.50%, at 34,967.93 and the S&P 500 was down 17.99 points, or 0.41%, at 4,404.31. The Nasdaq Composite was down 78.17 points, or 0.53%, at 14,762.54. Wall Street’s main indexes had inched up to record closing highs on Monday, carrying over momentum from a strong batch of corporate earnings last week.

Of the S&P 500 constituents, 124 companies have reported earnings so far and 88.7% of them have beaten estimates, according to Refinitiv data. Electric-car maker Tesla Inc fell 1.5%, as concerns over production being hit by a semiconductor shortage offset initial optimism over a better-than-expected second-quarter profit.

US-listed Chinese stocks extended losses as fears over more regulations in the mainland persisted. Alibaba and Baidu lost about 3.3% and 0.8%, respectively. General Electric rose around 2% after lifting its annual free cash flow forecast. But the company, once a bellwether for U.S. economic activity, warned that it was facing inflationary pressures that were likely to intensify in the rest of the year.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.57-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 3.99-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. The S&P index recorded 16 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 18 new highs and 94 new lows.

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