Wall Street flat as losses in financials offset healthcare gains

Goldman Sachs fell 1.6 per cent and weighed the most on the Dow while Morgan Stanley rose 1.66 per cent.
Goldman Sachs fell 1.6 per cent and weighed the most on the Dow while Morgan Stanley rose 1.66 per cent.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street opened flat on Tuesday as gains in healthcare stocks were largely offset by losses in financials, with an earnings beat from Goldman Sachs failing to cheer investors.

Goldman Sachs fell 1.6 per cent and weighed the most on the Dow while Morgan Stanley rose 1.66 per cent.

Both the banks reported third-quarter profit that beat estimates despite continuing weakness in trading revenue.

UnitedHealth jumped 4.4 per cent, lifting the Dow and the S&P the most, after the largest U.S. health insurer's profit beat estimates and it raised full-year earnings forecast.

"The market seems like it's in a holding pattern as investors look for additional evidence to drive it higher," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

"As we get into the meat of earnings season, investors are looking to confirm the valuations of equities."

At 1639 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 12.54 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 22,969.5 and the S&P 500 was down 0.09 points, or flat per cent wise, at 2,557.55.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 3.38 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 6,620.63.

The three major US stock indexes rose to record closing highs on Monday, with the Dow coming within 50 points of the 23,000 mark.

The dollar and US treasury yields took comfort from news that U.S. President Donald Trump might pick Stanford University economist John Taylor to lead the Federal Reserve after Janet Yellen's term ends next year.

The former Fed board member is seen as more hawkish than Yellen and other names being considered to take over the central bank.

Johnson & Johnson gained 1.08 per cent and lifted the healthcare sector 0.6 per cent after posting a better-than-expected profit as the company gained from strong sales of its new cancer drugs.

Technology stocks were also down, led by a 0.33 per cent fall in Apple, a day after it gained 1.5 per cent.

Seven of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower, led by a 0.37 per cent drop in telecom services index.

Boeing's 1 per cent decline, after Airbus SE agreed to take a majority stake in Bombardier's CSeries jetliner programme, weighed on the industrial sector.

Netflix fell 1.25 per cent after rising 2.3 per cent in premarket as the online video streaming service added more subscribers than expected in the third quarter.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,311 to 1,158.

On the Nasdaq, 1,248 issues fell and 1,011 advanced.