Wall Street hit by weak Goldman, J&J results

Goldman Sachs reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as gains in investment banking were offset by weak trading revenue. VIDEO: REUTERS
 File photo of the New York Stock Exchange in New York.
File photo of the New York Stock Exchange in New York.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks fell on Tuesday (April 18), with the Dow suffering the sharpest drop of the major US equity indices due to disappointing earnings from Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson.

US equities were on the back foot all day, following European markets down after the surprise call for snap British elections, and ahead of Sunday's first round of voting in the French presidential election.

"I think that most of today's sell-off seems to be driven by Europe," said Karl Haeling of LBBW. "The European market did not respond to yesterday's US rally and seems to be more worried about their own situation."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 0.6 per cent to close the session at 20,523.28.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.3 per cent to end at 2,342.19, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost only 0.1 per cent to finish at 5,849.47.

Goldman Sachs was a big loser, dropping 4.7 per cent after it reported first-quarter earnings of US$5.15 per share, below the US$5.31 estimated by Wall Street analysts, due in part to a disappointing performance in its trading division.

Johnson & Johnson fell 3.2 per cent as it reported first-quarter revenues of US$17.8 billion, (S$24.8 billion) US$200 million under analyst expectations.

Netflix fell 2.6 per cent after posted a net increase of 4.95 million subscribers in the first quarter, well below the 7.05 million added in the prior quarter.

Pharma shares also were under pressure, with Merck losing 0.8 per cent, Celgene down 1.7 per cent and Mylan falling 1.4 per cent.