S&P 500 ends choppy session nearly flat; investors eye Fed, earnings


NEW YORK (REUTERS) – The S&P 500 see-sawed on Monday (July 25) and ended close to unchanged as investors girded for an expected rate hike at a Federal Reserve meeting this week and earnings from several large-cap growth companies.

The Nasdaq ended lower, and S&P 500 technology and consumer discretionary led declines among major S&P sectors. The energy sector gained along with oil prices. “Right now we’re just in a holding pattern waiting for all those developments to play out,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Stamford, Connecticut.

The Fed is expected to announce a 75 basis-point rate hike at the end of its two-day monetary policy meeting on Wednesday, effectively ending pandemic-era support for the US economy.

Comments by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell following the announcement will be key, as some investors worry that aggressive rate hikes could tip the US economy into recession. This week is expected to be the busiest in the second-quarter reporting period, with results from about 170 S&P 500 companies due.

Microsoft Corp and Google-parent Alphabet are due to report Tuesday. Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc are set for Thursday.

“It’s a crucial earnings season for the market, especially given the (recent) attempt by Nasdaq to climb higher,” said Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Nasdaq, which has led declines among major sectors this year, gained more than 3% last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 90.75 points, or 0.28%, to 31,990.04, the S&P 500 gained 5.21 points, or 0.13%, to 3,966.84 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 51.45 points, or 0.43%, to 11,782.67.

After the closing bell, shares of Walmart were down more than 8% after the retailer said it was cutting its forecast for full-year profit and blamed food and fuel inflation.

S&P 500 earnings are expected to have climbed 6.1% for the second quarter from the year-ago period, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Along with inflation and rising interest rates, investors have been concerned about the impact of currency headwinds and lingering supply chain issues for companies this earnings season.

Tuesday brings reports on two housing indicators – the S&P Case-Shiller’s 20-city composite and the Commerce Department’s new home sales number.

Recent housing data has suggested the sector may be a harbinger of a cooling economy. Newmont Corp fell 13.2% after the miner raised its annual cost forecast and missed its second-quarter profit, hurt by lower gold prices and inflationary pressures.

Volume on US exchanges was 9.34 billion shares, compared with the 11.0 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.55-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.05-to-1 ratio favored decliners. The S&P 500 posted 1 new 52-week highs and 29 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 50 new highs and 105 new lows.



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