US STOCKS-Wall St near flat in quiet session ahead of earnings wave

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
US STOCKS-Wall St near flat in quiet session ahead of earnings wave
Credit: © Reuters.

* Energy stocks jump on oil boost

* Kimberly Clark touches two-year high as results beat estimates

* Intuitive Surgical drags on S&P 500 as earnings miss

* Dow off 0.18%, S&P 500 up 0.1%, Nasdaq gains 0.22% (Updates to close, adds commentary)

By Sinéad Carew

NEW YORK, April 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ended a low-volume trading session little changed on Monday, with the biggest gains in the energy sector as investors otherwise stayed on the sidelines ahead of quarterly earnings.

Investors were waiting for some of the biggest S&P 500 companies, including Boeing (NYSE: BA ) Co BA.N , Inc AMZN.O and Facebook Inc FB.O to report first-quarter results later in the week. Additional reports could ease investor fears of an earnings recession. volume - which was the lowest so far in 2019 - was also muted by the fact that some investors were still on vacation after Friday's U.S. market holiday and because markets were closed in parts of Europe and Asia on Monday.

Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist, at Federated Investors, in New York said he has been encouraged by quarterly results even though it was early in the reporting season.

"To some degree it could be some concern because we know it's a big earnings week. What will the overall tenor of this week look like by Friday?" said Orlando.

Orlando was impressed with the latest GDPNow forecast from the Atlanta Federal Reserve for a first-quarter expansion of 2.8% compared with a 0.2% forecast a month ago. tells you the data has turned around and maybe earnings aren't going to be so bad," he said.

S&P 500 profits are expected to drop 1.7% year-over-year, according to Refinitiv data, in what would be the first earnings contraction since 2016.

But more than three-quarters of 82 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have surpassed beaten-down expectations.

With the S&P trading at less than 1% below its record high reached in September, investors were also waiting for upcoming data such as first-quarter GDP before making bigger bets.

"It's important at this point to sit back and reflect on what the prospects are that will take us forward. It's appropriate to see what we're seeing today," Ryan Larson, head of U.S. equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management in Chicago.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 48.49 points, or 0.18%, to 26,511.05, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 2.94 points, or 0.10%, to 2,907.97 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 17.21 points, or 0.22%, to 8,015.27.

The S&P energy index .SPNY jumped 2.1% in its biggest one-day percentage gain since January, as oil prices surged on the United States' move to further clampdown on Iranian oil exports, tightening global supplies. O/R seven of the 11 major S&P sectors ended the day lower, led by a 1% drop in the real estate index .SPLRCR .

Intuitive Surgical Inc ISRG.O fell 7% and was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 after the surgical robotics maker's quarterly profit missed analysts' estimates.

Kimberly-Clark Corp (NYSE: KMB ) KMB.N gained 5.4%, touching a near two-year high, after the consumer products maker reported better-than-expected earnings. PHLX Housing index .HGX fell 0.97% after data showed U.S. home sales fell more than expected in March, pointing to continued weakness in the housing market. issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.41-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.33-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 17 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 33 new highs and 70 new lows.

On U.S. exchanges 5.79 billion shares changed hands, compared with the 6.65 billion average for the last 20 trading days.

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