US STOCKS-S&P 500 ends lower after mixed earnings, opening glitch

Reuters

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        * 
      SEC investigating NYSE opening bell glitch
    

        * 
      3M slides on downbeat Q1 forecast
    

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      J&J falls on sales warning; GE down on weak profit view
    

        * 
      Microsoft quarterly results expected shortly
    

  
 (Updates to market close)
    By Stephen Culp
       NEW YORK, Jan 24 (Reuters) - 
    The S&P 500 ended slightly lower Tuesday at the close of a
rocky session marked by a raft of mixed earnings and a technical
malfunction at the opening bell.
    A spate of NYSE-listed stocks were halted at the top of the
session due to an apparent technical malfunction, which caused
initial price confusion and prompted an investigation by the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
    More than 80 stocks were affected by the glitch, which
caused wide swings in opening prices in dozens of stocks,
including Walmart Inc  WMT.N  and Nike Inc  NKE.N .
    "Everybody’s having computer problems, first the airlines
and now it’s the NYSE," said Tim Ghriskey, senior portfolio
strategist Ingalls & Snyder in New York. "Seems like it was
quickly corrected."
    "Some of the prints were clearly bad," Ghriskey added. "It
was a surprise. Unexpected." 
    All three indexes sputtered near the starting line for much
of the session, showing little apparent momentum in either
direction.
    Fourth quarter earnings season is in full swing, with 72 of
the companies in the S&P 500 having reported. Of those, 65% have
beaten consensus, just a hair below the 66% long-term average,
according to Refinitiv.
    On aggregate, analysts now expect S&P 500 earnings 2.9%
below the year-ago quarter, down from the 1.6% year-on-year
decline seen on Jan. 1, per Refinitiv.
    "The Fed will take apart earnings reports and look at how
the economy is doing, given the rate hikes and other issues out
there," Ghriskey said. "We’re getting closer to that point where
the Fed sees enough progress in the inflation fight to stop the
(interest) rate hikes and that’s why the markets have reacted
positively lately."
    Economic data showed shallower-than-expected contraction in
the manufacturing and services sector in the first weeks of the
year, suggesting that the Federal Reserve's restrictive interest
rates are dampening demand.
    According to preliminary data, the S&P 500  .SPX  lost 2.94
points, or 0.07%, to end at 4,016.87 points, while the Nasdaq
Composite  .IXIC  lost 29.95 points, or 0.26%, to 11,334.47. The
Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  rose 102.53 points, or
0.30%, to 33,732.09.
    Intercontinental Exchange Inc  ICE.N , owner of the New York
Stock Exchange, dropped as SEC investigators searched for the
cause of Tuesday's opening bell confusion.
    Alphabet Inc  GOOGL.O  shares dipped after the Justice
Department filed a lawsuit against Google for abusing its
dominance of the digital advertising business.
    Johnson & Johnson's  JNJ.N  profit guidance came in above
analyst expectations. 
    Industrial conglomerates 3M Co  MMM.N  and General Electric
Co  GE.N  both provided underwhelming forward guidance due to
inflationary headwinds. 
    3M's shares lost ground, while General Electric posted
modest gains.
    Aerospace/defense companies Lockheed Martin Corp  LMT.N  and
Raytheon Technologies Corp  RTX.N  were a study in contrasts,
with the former issuing a disappointing profit forecast and the
latter beating estimates on solid travel demand. 
    Shares of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon advanced on the day.
    Railroad operator Union Pacific Corp  UPN.N  missed profit
estimates as labor shortages and severe weather delayed
shipments. 
 (Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Shreyashi
Sanyal and Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Aurora
Ellis)
 ((stephen.culp@thomsonreuters.com; 646-223-6076;))

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