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Wall St slips as bank earnings disappoint

Wall Street has lost ground, dragged down by financials as underwhelming bank earnings curbed investor enthusiasm.

But while all three major US stock indexes edged lower, the S&P 500 remained within a per cent of its record high.

Following a January-March rally that marked the US stock market's best quarterly performance in nearly a decade, stocks had been in a holding pattern in April ahead of first quarter reporting season.

Goldman Sachs dipped 3.8 per cent after the investment bank's first quarter revenue came in below analyst expectations.

Citigroup posted higher-than-expected earnings as cost-cutting offset falling revenues. Its shares ended the session nominally lower, dropping 0.1 per cent.

"We're coming off of a strong week last week," said Joseph Sroka, chief investment officer at NovaPoint in Atlanta. "So any bad news or earnings reports this week, such as we saw with Goldman and Citigroup, is going to take away some of that momentum."

With first quarter reporting season shifting into high gear, analysts now see S&P 500 companies posting a 2.1 per cent year-on-year decline in profits. While an improvement over recent estimates, it would still mark the first annual decline in earnings since 2016.

"We'll get a clearer sense as we move through the week," Sroka added. "As we move into other sectors we'll get a clearer picture of corporate earnings and the economy."

Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Netflix, Johnson & Johnson, Textron, Honeywell International, Schlumberger NV and American Express are among the closely-watched earnings expected this holiday-shortened week.

Aside from earnings, "we still have to be watchful for global geopolitical events such as the US-China trade discussion", warned Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist of CFRA Research in New York.

Sources said US negotiators have softened their demands that China curb industrial subsidies as a condition for a trade deal, marking a retreat from a core US objective.

"It's a net positive," Stovall said. "The president wants to get some sort of deal signed so he can move on."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 27.53 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 26,384.77; the S&P 500 lost 1.83 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 2,905.58; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 8.15 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7,976.01.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, six ended the session in the red.

Financials were the biggest percentage losers, closing down 0.6 per cent and snapping their three-day winning streak.

Waste Management rose 2.4 per cent following its announcement that it would buy smaller rival Advanced Disposal Services for about $US3 billion ($A4.2 billion).

Boeing slid 1.1 per cent after US President Donald Trump tweeted that the plane-maker should fix and "rebrand" its 737 MAX jet.

Lyft extended its slide, falling 6.3 per cent. The ride-hailing platform, which had its market debut in March, is now trading about 22 per cent below its $US72 offer price.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.21-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.57-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 56 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 79 new highs and 46 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was 5.75 billion shares, compared to the 6.91 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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