S&P 500 ends slightly lower after mixed earnings, opening glitch

  • SEC probes NYSE opening bell glitch
  • 3M slips on downbeat first-quarter forecast
  • J&J falls on sales warning; GE falls on weak profit
  • Microsoft cashes in on extended deal after results
  • Indices: Dow up 0.31%, S&P 500 down 0.07%, Nasdaq down 0.27%

NEW YORK, Jan 24 (Reuters) – The S&P 500 closed nominally lower on Tuesday after a choppy finish amid mixed earnings and a technical glitch at the open.

Trading in a large number of New York Stock Exchange-listed stocks was halted at the top of the session due to an apparent technical glitch, which caused initial price confusion and prompted an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

More than 80 stocks were affected by the glitch, sending dozens of stocks opening wildly, including Walmart Inc (WMT.N) and Nike Inc (NKE.N).

“Everyone has computer problems, first the airlines, now the New York Stock Exchange,” said Tim Ghriskey, senior portfolio strategist at Ingalls & Snyder in New York. “Looks like it will be fixed soon.”

“Some of the print was obviously bad,” Ghriskey added. “It was a surprise. Unexpected.”

The Nasdaq fell along with the S&P 500, while the Dow closed slightly higher.

Fourth-quarter earnings season is in full swing, with 72 companies in the S&P 500 reporting. Of those, 65 percent beat consensus estimates, according to Refinitiv data, just shy of the long-term average of 66 percent.

Overall, analysts now expect earnings for S&P 500 companies to fall 2.9% from a year earlier, down from a 1.6% year-over-year decline on Jan. 17. 1, according to Refinitiv.

“The Fed will be dismantling the earnings report and looking at how the economy is doing, given the rate hikes and other issues,” Ghriskey said. That’s why the market has reacted positively recently.”

Economic data showed that manufacturing and services sectors contracted less than expected in the first weeks of the year, suggesting the Federal Reserve’s restrictive interest rates are dampening demand.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 104.4 points, or 0.31%, to 33,733.96, the S&P 500 Index (.SPX) fell 2.86 points, or 0.07%, to 4,016.95 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) fell 30.14 points, or 0.27%, to 11,334.27.

Among the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, industrials fell the most.

NYSE parent Intercontinental Exchange (ICE.N ) fell 2.2 percent as SEC investigators looked for reasons for Tuesday’s tumultuous start.

Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) shares fell 2.1% after the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Google for abusing its dominance in digital advertising.

Industrial conglomerates 3M Co (MMM.N) and General Electric Co (GE.N) both provided disappointing forward guidance due to inflation headwinds.

3M shares fell 6.2%, while General Electric shares rose 1.2%.

Aerospace/defense companies Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N ) and Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX.N ) were the subjects of the study, with the former issuing disappointing profit forecasts and Raytheon Technologies Inc (RTX.N ) forecasting solid travel demand.

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon rose 1.8 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Railroad operator Union Pacific Corp missed profit expectations as labor shortages and bad weather delayed shipments. Its shares fell 3.3%.

Microsoft ( MSFT.O ) rose more than 4 percent in after-hours trading after quarterly revenue slightly missed expectations.

Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.01-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.17-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 recorded 26 new 52-week highs and 10 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 77 new highs and 22 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 10.58 billion shares, compared with the 10.61 billion average for the last 20 sessions.

Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Aurora Ellis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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