US STOCKS-S&P 500 closes slightly red as weak corporate guidance fuels recession fears

Reuters

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 (Updates to market close)
    By Stephen Culp
       NEW YORK, Jan 25 (Reuters) - 
    The S&P 500 ended lower on Wednesday as a string of
corporate earnings ran the gamut from downbeat to dismal,
reviving worries over the economic impact of the U.S. Federal
Reserve's restrictive policy.
  
        All three major U.S. stock indexes pared their losses
throughout the afternoon to close well off session lows.
        The tech-laden Nasdaq was weighed down after Microsoft
Corp  MSFT.O , the first major technology firm to post quarterly
results, offered 
    dour guidance
     and raised red flags with respect to its megacap peers
which have yet to report.
  
    "We’ve had up and down days, that indicates an ongoing
tug-of-war," said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at
Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana. "The dour
guidance good news from the standpoint of what the Fed is doing
is working."
        "That outcome has become the catalyst for the market one
way or the other," Carlson added. "Earnings matter but what’s
really got the market’s focus is the Fed interest rate/inflation
story."
  
    Fourth-quarter earnings season has shifted into overdrive,
with 95 of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported. Of
those, 67% have beat consensus estimates, well below the 76%
average beat rate over the past four quarters, according to
Refintiv.
    Analysts now see aggregate S&P 500 earnings dropping 3.0%
year-on-year, nearly double the 1.6% drop seen on Jan. 1, per
Refinitiv.
    According to preliminary data, the S&P 500  .SPX  lost 0.73
points, or 0.02%, to end at 4,016.22 points, while the Nasdaq
Composite  .IXIC  lost 20.92 points, or 0.20%, to 11,313.35. The
Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  rose 5.67 points, or 0.03%,
to 33,742.72.
    Boeing Co's  BA.N  shares reversed an earlier dip, turning
positive after the plane maker posted widening losses for 2022,
but reported its first positive cash flow since 2018 on the
strength of commercial airplane deliveries.
    Abbott Laboratories  ABT.N  dropped as weaker-than-expected
medical device sales weighed on the stock.  
    Among gainers, News Corp  NWSA.O  jumped after Rupert
Murdoch withdrew a proposal to reunite News Corp and Fox Corp.
    AT&T Inc  T.N  also delivered disappointing guidance but its
renewed focus on its telecoms business helped boost subscriber
numbers, sending its shares higher.
    General Dynamics Corp  GD.N  slid after its weak 2023
forecast overshadowed its earnings beat.
    Electric automaker Tesla Inc  TSLA.O  is expected to post
results shortly.
    Finally, in a post-script to Tuesday's technical glitch
which halted the opening auctions for a spate of stocks and
prompted a review by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC), the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) said a manual error
resulted in the snafu which caused widespread confusion at the
opening bell.
 (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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