Trader Michael Unkonis, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street as several big U.S. companies reported solid results for the latest quarter. (Photo: AP)
Major US stock indexes were mostly lower Tuesday afternoon after giving up some of their early gains as investors assessed a mixed bag of corporate results and looked ahead to a heavy schedule of news on companies and the economy.
Losses in technology and media companies outweighed gains in industrial and health care stocks.
Xerox and 3M rose after reporting solid results, but Harley-Davidson fell. Apple reports its results after the close of trading.
Washington will continue trade talks with Beijing this week, and British lawmakers resume debate on the country’s looming departure from the European Union in March. Currently there is no deal in place to insure smooth trade between Britain and the rest of Europe after Britain leaves the bloc.
In the U.S., the Federal Reserve ends its latest interest rate policy meeting on Wednesday and the government releases its monthly employment report, the most important indicator on the US economy, on Friday.
The jobs report will have even more importance than usual because many other reports on the economy have been delayed because of the five-week partial shutdown of the federal government that ended Friday.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell less than 1 point to 2,643 as of 2:03 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 84 points, or 0.3 percent, to 24,612. The Nasdaq composite fell 40 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,045.
ANALYSIS: “We’re still pretty much in a tight race today,” said John Lynch, chief investment strategist for LPL Financial. “We think earnings are good and economic growth is good, it’s just not great like it was last year.”
FULL GLASS: Corning delivered an upbeat fourth-quarter report, topping forecasts. The company expects more growth for its display-glass and optical communications segments, which makes screens for electronic devices and fiber optic cables. The stock jumped 10 percent to $33.40.
PHARMA: Pfizer rose after the world’s largest drugmaker reported mixed results. While hefty costs for layoffs and acquisitions sunk fourth-quarter profit, the results still topped Wall Street forecasts. The company has been struggling to upgrade sterile injectable drug factories it bought from Hospira, but repairs have dragged on and production shutdowns have cut into sales.