US STOCKS-S&P 500 little changed as investors digest mixed earnings

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The S&P 500 was little changed on Wednesday as investors digested a mixed bag of corporate earnings, including upbeat reports from medical technology companies, while weakness in Netflix and Tesla shares weighed.

The Dow edged lower, dragged down by declines in Walt Disney Co and UnitedHealth Group Inc shares following results from rivals in their respective industries. Major equity indexes have been largely stable during the early stages of a first-quarter earnings season that investors expect to show tepid results.

“Corporate results are being seen as being in large part company-specific news versus market news,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B Riley Wealth. “If that keeps us relatively calm and unchanged for now, while the sample set of reporters is still quite small, I think that’s a positive.” The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 67.89 points, or 0.2%, to 33,908.74; the S&P 500 gained 0.4 points, or 0.01%, at 4,155.27; and the Nasdaq Composite added 16.95 points, or 0.14%, at 12,170.37.

The defensive utilities group gained most among S&P 500 sectors, rising 0.7%. The CBOE Volatility index, also known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, fell to its lowest point since November 2021 during the session.

Investors are looking for signs in the corporate results that inflation may be driving up costs or hurting consumer spending, amid fears the economy may be on the cusp of a downturn. S&P 500 companies overall are expected to post a 4.8% decline in first-quarter earnings from the year-earlier period, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Netflix Inc shares slid 4.2% after the video-streaming pioneer offered a lighter-than-expected forecast. Shares of steaming rival Disney fell 1.8%. Tesla Inc shares dropped 1% after the electric-vehicle maker’s sixth U.S. price cut this year, ahead of its quarterly results due after market close on Wednesday.

Shares of Elevance Health Inc fell 5.4% after the insurer’s strong quarterly profit failed to ease investor concerns over regulatory hits to the company’s government-backed insurance business. UnitedHealth shares were off 3.7%. Elsewhere in healthcare, Abbott Laboratories shares jumped 7.6% after the medical device maker said most delayed non-urgent medical procedures had resumed globally three years into the COVID-19 pandemic. Intuitive Surgical shares soared 11% after its quarterly revenue and profit topped estimates.

Shares of Western Alliance Bancorp surged 23% after the company posted stronger-than-expected earnings, helping lift the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF 4%. Regional banks have been in focus after the failure of Silicon Valley Bank last month prompted concerns about systemic risks.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a 1.32-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.07-to-1 ratio favored decliners. The S&P 500 posted 15 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 48 new highs and 111 new lows.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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