US Stocks Roughly Flat In Lackluster Trade
U.S. stocks are roughly flat Tuesday afternoon with investors digesting a slew of quarterly earnings updates and the latest batch of economic data.
Prospects of the Federal Reserve raising interest rate by 25 basis points in May appear to be weighing as well.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said today that he favored continued interest-rate hikes to counter persistent inflation. Bullard said recession fears are overblown.
“Wall Street’s very engaged in the idea there’s going to be a recession in six months or something, but that isn’t really the way you would read an expansion like this,” Bullard told Reuters in an interview published Tuesday.
The major averages are all currently hovering around their previous closing levels. While the Dow has recovered from early lows, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are off early highs.
The Dow is at 33,995.16, up 7.98 points or 0.02 percent. The S&P 500 is up 2.70 points or 0.06 percent at 4,154.02, while the Nasdaq is lower by 4.29 points or 0.04 percent at 12,153.44.
On the earnings front, Bank of America reported higher than expected revenue and earnings for the first quarter. The company’s first-quarter earnings totaled $7.66 billion, or $0.94 per share. This compares with $6.60 billion, or $0.80 per share, in last year’s first quarter. The stock is down marginally.
Goldman Sachs’ first-quarter net earnings applicable to common shareholders fell 19 percent to $3.09 billion from $3.83 billion last year. Earnings per share were $8.79, down 18 percent from prior year’s $10.76. The stock is down by about 1.2%.
Johnson & Johnson’s results beat market expectations, but the company still reported a net loss due to a one-time charges related to talc liabilities and the company spinning off its consumer health business. J&J shares are down nearly 2.5 percent.
J&J’s first-quarter earnings came in at $68 million vs. $5.15 billion in the same period last year. Excluding items, Johnson & Johnson reported adjusted earnings of $7.07 billion or $2.68 per share for the first quarter.
JP Morgan Chase is climbing 1.2 percent. Boeing and Home Depot, both are up nearly 1 percent.
Verizon, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Honeywell International, Amgen and Intel are down with moderate losses.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department released a report on Tuesday showing a decrease in new residential construction in the U.S. in the month of March.
The report said housing starts slid by 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.420 million in March from a revised rate of 1.432 million in February.
Economists had expected housing starts to decline to a rate of 1.400 million from the 1.450 million originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said building permits plunged by 8.8 percent to a rate of 1.413 million in March from a revised rate of 1.550 million in February.
Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, were expected to fall to a rate of 1.441 million from the 1.524 million originally reported for the previous month.
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