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Wall Street edges higher ahead of major earnings, central bank meetings

Kitco News

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks eked out small gains on Monday as investors were wary of making big bets ahead of key central bank meetings on interest rates and waited for earnings from marquee companies including Facebook and Amazon due later this week.

Shares of Boeing Co (BA.N) fell 1.13% and pressured the blue-chip Dow index .DJIafter rating agency Fitch revised its outlook on the planemaker to "negative" from "stable," while the tech-heavy Nasdaq was lifted by chipmakers.

“Markets are trading sideways because there are not a lot of earnings out today, with the exception of Halliburton, but it is going to be a very big earnings week,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at GlobAlt Investments in Atlanta.

“We are anticipating the European Central Bank meeting and we have to wait next week for the Federal Reserve, and it seems as though the market has come into accepting a quarter point cut and that’s just the right message.”

The European Central Bank meets on Thursday and money markets are pricing in a more than 50% chance of a 10 basis point cut in interest rates. Federal Reserve officials are set to meet a few days later, when they are widely expected to lower rates by at least 25 basis points.

Hopes of an interest rate cut have helped Wall Street’s main indexes hit record levels this month, recovering from a slump in May caused by a sudden escalation of U.S.-China trade tensions.

About 30% of S&P 500 companies are set to report second-quarter results this week, with overall profits now estimated to rise about 1%, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Facebook Inc (FB.O), Inc (AMZN.O) and Google-parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), up between 0.2% and 1.4%, are set to report results on Wednesday and Thursday.

The technology index .SPLRCT rose 1.23%, the most among the S&P sectors, while the Philadelphia chip index .SOX rose 1.88%.

Chip stocks gained on news that White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow will host a meeting with executives of semiconductor and software companies on Monday to discuss a U.S. ban on sales to China’s Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL].

At 12:43 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was flat at 27,155.32, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 7.63 points, or 0.26%, at 2,984.24. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 54.06 points, or 0.66%, at 8,200.55.

Second-quarter earnings have been mixed so far, with major banks raising concerns about profit growth in a low interest rate environment. Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and International Business Machines (IBM.N), on the other hand, have reported better-than-expected earnings.

Halliburton Co (HAL.N) rose 6.9%, the most among S&P 500 companies, after the oilfield services provider’s second-quarter profit beat analysts’ estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.14-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.02-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded four new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 43 new highs and 88 new lows.

Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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