Wall Street weighed down at open by lower oil, weak earnings

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US stock indexes were slightly lower on Thursday as oil prices fell and Travelers and Verizon reported weak results.

Crude prices fell nearly 2 per cent, but were hovering near five-month highs after the International Energy Agency said 2016 would see the biggest fall in non-OPEC production in more than two decades.

The S&P 500 has come closer to its record high of 2,134.72, riding on better-than-expected results and a recent rebound in oil.

S&P 500 companies are seen reporting a 7.5 per cent fall in first-quarter profit on average, and a 1.3 per cent decline in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

However, market analysts say investors seem to be looking past the lowered expectations for earnings and revenue growth, and booking short-term profits. "I think the market is extremely tired," said Matthew Tuttle, chief executive, Tuttle Tactical Management in Greenwich, Connecticut. "We do think we're going to make a run at the all-time high, but... I don't see how we just totally take off again without some sort of pause," he said.

At 9.41am ET (9.41pm Singapore time), the Dow Jones industrial average was down 35.55 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 18,060.72, the S&P 500 was down 3.82 points, or 0.18 per cent, at 2,098.58 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 4.10 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 4,944.03.

Seven of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, led by the 1.6 per cent decline in the telecom sector.