Wall St eases as caution rises over earnings; financials down

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 252.12 points, or 0.73 per cent, to 34,494.13. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - US stocks ended a choppy session lower on Monday (Oct 11) as investors grew more nervous ahead of the third-quarter earnings reporting season.

Supply chain problems and higher costs for energy and other things have fueled concern about earnings, set to kick off with JPMorgan Chase & Co results on Wednesday.

Indexes reversed early gains, and JPMorgan shares were down and among the biggest drags on the S&P 500, while the S&P financial index was also lower.

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 lost 30.56 points, or 0.70 per cent, to end at 4,360.78 points, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 95.94 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 14,483.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 252.12 points, or 0.73 per cent, to 34,494.13.

"I was surprised to see the market up this morning because earnings season is right ahead of us, and the market is a bit cautious going into this earnings season," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

"Supply chain issues may have impacted earnings for a number of companies and certain industries more than others."

Another period of strong US profit growth is forecast as third-quarter reports from Corporate America flow in starting next week, with analysts expecting a 29.6 per cent year-over-year increase in profit for S&P 500 companies in the third quarter, according to IBES data from Refinitiv as of Friday.

But earnings are shaping up to be crucial for investors worried about the impact of supply disruptions and inflation pressures on US companies, and could lead to more volatility on Wall Street following a bruising September.

Energy was also lower after hitting its highest since January 2020. Higher oil prices have fed into concerns about rising costs for businesses and consumers.

Some trading may have been affected by the US Columbus Day holiday, with US bond markets shut on Monday.

Among individual stocks, Southwest Airlines Co slipped on a report that it canceled at least 30 per cent of its scheduled flights on Sunday.

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