US STOCKS-Nasdaq falls as megacaps drop ahead of earnings, Fed meet in focus


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      Apple, Meta, Alphabet, slide ahead of earnings

      Fed decision on interest rates on Wednesday 

      Indexes: Nasdaq down 1.15%, S&P falls 0.51%, Dow flat

 (Updates prices, details)
    By Shreyashi Sanyal and Johann M  Cherian
       Jan 30 (Reuters) - The tech-focused Nasdaq fell more
than 1% on Monday as megacap growth stocks including Apple,
Amazon and Alphabet declined ahead of their earnings reports
this week, while investors also awaited key central bank
    The U.S. Federal Reserve is seen hiking the Fed funds rate
by 25 basis points (bps) at the end of its two-day policy
meeting on Wednesday, close on the heels of economic reports
showing signs of slowing demand and cooling inflation.   
    This will likely be the smallest rate increase since the Fed
kicked off its tightening cycle 10 months ago with a 25 bps
hike, with financial markets pricing in a final rate hike in
    "The Fed's going to continue to err on the side of caution
with respect to inflation because of the fact that it still
remains well above the 2% target ... we're seeing signs that
inflation may be coming down, but it's still not low enough,"
said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of 50 Park Investments in New
    Money markets now see rates peaking at 4.9% in June, still
below the 5% level expected by Fed policymakers.  0#FEDWATCH 
    After a slew of layoffs by large-cap tech and financial
firms through the month, investors will now watch out for the
Labor Department's January nonfarm payrolls data expected on
    A total of 107 S&P 500 firms are expected to report
quarterly results in the busiest week of the earnings season,
including heavyweight growth companies Apple Inc  AAPL.O , Inc  AMZN.O , Alphabet Inc  GOOGL.O  and Meta
Platforms Inc  META.O , each down about 1%. 
    Analysts expect S&P 500 earnings during the fourth-quarter
to decline 3%, compared with the 1.6% drop expected at the
beginning of the year, according to Refinitiv data.
    Wall Street is expected to end the month higher with the
Nasdaq  .IXIC  and the S&P 500 Growth index  .IGX  recouping
more than half their monthly losses from December.
    Tighter monetary policies have stood in the way of growth
firms expanding their businesses, which have also been pressured
for much of last year by high Treasury yields.
    "The month of January was a big 'up-month' on Wall Street,
led mostly by many of the big stocks that got crushed last
year," Sarhan added, noting that the decline in growth stocks on
Monday could be due to some profit-taking. 
    Other major central banks including the European Central
Bank and the Bank of England are also seen raising interest
rates later in the week. 
    At 10:24 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI 
was up 14.55 points, or 0.04%, at 33,992.63, the S&P 500  .SPX 
was down 20.90 points, or 0.51%, at 4,049.66, and the Nasdaq
Composite  .IXIC  was down 133.10 points, or 1.15%, at
    Countering declines on the blue-chip Dow  .DJI , American
Express  AXP.N  rose 1.6% after several brokerages raised price
targets on the stock on its strong full-year forecast.
    Five of the major 11 S&P 500 sector indexes fell with
communication services  .SPLRCL  and technology  .SPLRCT 
leading the fall.
    Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.36-to-1 ratio
on the NYSE and by a 1.52-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
    The S&P index recorded three new 52-week highs and no new
low, while the Nasdaq recorded 39 new highs and eight new lows.
 (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Johann M Cherian in
Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)
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