Market Wrap: Stocks End Lower as Earnings Worries Deepen

Dow Down Nearly 300 Points On Weak Economic Data
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By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks fell Monday as fears increased that the strong dollar and lower oil prices will hurt U.S. first-quarter earnings.

Nine of the 10 S&P 500 sectors fell, led by a 1.1 percent decline in S&P industrials. Shares of General Electric (GE) dropped 3.1 percent to $27.63 after rallying Friday, when it said there was potential to return more than $90 billion to investors through 2018. Shares of 3M (MMM) were down 0.7 percent at $165.84.

The dollar was last up 0.1 percent against a basket of major currencies after hitting a peak of 99.99, its highest in four weeks. A stronger dollar tends to hurt profits for U.S. multinationals. U.S. crude oil edged higher but sharp losses since last year have weighed on energy companies' results.

%VIRTUAL-pullquote-We're all waiting on earnings, which are going to be coming fast and furious as we move through the week.%Corporate earnings kick into high gear this week. Estimates for first-quarter S&P 500 results have fallen sharply since Jan. 1, with earnings for the period expected to have declined 2.9 percent from a year ago, Thomson Reuters data showed.

"We're all waiting on earnings, which are going to be coming fast and furious as we move through the week. I think there is some trepidation about what the earnings announcements are going to look like and so investors are cautious," said John Carey, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management in Boston, which has about $220 billion in assets under management.

"Most people are thinking earnings are going to be weak due the strong dollar and lower oil prices and sluggish consumer spending due to the winter weather. But we'll see. I'm sure there'll be some positive surprises as well."

Earnings Season

Among key companies expected to report this week are GE, Intel (INTC) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 80.61 points, or 0.45 percent, to 17,977.04, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GSPC) lost 9.63 points, or 0.46 percent, to 2,092.43 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 7.73 points, or 0.15 percent, to 4,988.25.

The Nasdaq briefly traded above 5,000 and came within 110 points of its all-time intraday high.

Apple (AAPL) shares slipped 0.2 percent to $126.85, reversing earlier gains that followed reports the Apple Watch may have received about a million orders in its debut.

Netflix (NFLX) shares rose 4.4 percent at $474.68. The video streaming company said Friday it was seeking to increase its share authorization by nearly 30 times as a possible first step towards a stock split.

Builders FirstSource (BLDR) shares jumped 67.7 percent to $11.57. The supplier of residential building products said it would buy privately held ProBuild Holdings for $1.63 billion in cash.

NYSE decliners outnumbered advancers 1,902 to 1,144, for a 1.66-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,408 issues fell and 1,309 advanced, for a 1.08-to-1 ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 24 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq composite recorded 104 new highs and 24 new lows.

About 5.4 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 6 billion daily average for the last five sessions, according to BATS Global Markets.

-With additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal.

What to watch Tuesday:

  • At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for March, and the Commerce Department releases retail sales data for March.

  • The Commerce Department releases business inventories for February at 10 a.m.

These selected companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial results: