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U.S. Stocks Tread Water

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07/15/2019 | 10:54am EDT

By Avantika Chilkoti and Shen Hong

U.S. stocks drifted between small gains and losses Monday as investors weighed second-quarter earnings from Citigroup and looked ahead to results from other large banks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 9 points, or less than 0.1%, to 27322. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.1% apiece.

Hopes that lower interest rates will spur earnings and economic growth despite ongoing trade uncertainty have powered stocks to fresh highs over the past month.

Investors are now turning their attention to second-quarter earnings season, which begins in earnest this week with the nation's biggest banks. Analysts currently expect S&P 500 companies to post a roughly 3% drop in profits from a year earlier, the biggest decline since 2016.

Citi shares fell 1.7% Monday after the bank exceeded analysts' estimates for both profits and revenue, but delivered mixed results for its trading unit.

Analysts will get a look at earnings results from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo on Tuesday and other big banks later this week.

Meanwhile, Boeing's stock fell 1.5%, weighing on the Dow industrials, after some Federal Aviation Administration officials and pilot-union leaders suggested the company's 737 MAX planes are unlikely to be ready to carry passengers again until 2020.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 inched up 0.3%. Galapagos, the Belgian biotech group, surged 18% after Gilead Sciences said it would pay $1.5 billion to boost its stake in the firm and gain rights outside Europe to its treatments in development.

Anheuser-Busch InBev slipped 1% after calling off the nearly $10 billion listing of its Asian business late last week. The listing would have been the largest initial public offering yet this year.

Stock indexes in Asia ended the day mixed after data showed Chinese economic activity slowed to its weakest pace since 1992, raising expectations that Beijing would introduce stimulus measures to support the economy. Growth in the world's second-largest economy decelerated to 6.2% in the second quarter.

"The numbers don't look good and there are expectations for further credit loosening," said Deng Wenyuan, a Suzhou-based analyst at Soochow Securities Co.

Still, many analysts expect Chinese officials to continue encouraging banks to lend more in an effort to boost the economy. In one sign of that optimism, copper, an industrial metal heavily used in construction and manufacturing, bounced higher Monday.

The Shanghai Composite Index also closed 0.4% higher after falling by as much as 1.5% earlier.

-- Akane Otani and Amrith Ramkumar contributed to this article.

Write to Avantika Chilkoti at Avantika.Chilkoti@wsj.com and Shen Hong at hong.shen@wsj.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV -0.68% 85.56 Delayed Quote.48.28%
CHINA-SHANGHAI COMP 0.49% 2897.43 End-of-day quote.16.00%
CITIGROUP INC. -3.07% 61.95 Delayed Quote.19.00%
DJ INDUSTRIAL -2.37% 25628.9 Delayed Quote.9.87%
GALAPAGOS ADR -1.87% 162.97 Delayed Quote.81.02%
GILEAD SCIENCES -2.66% 62.51 Delayed Quote.-0.06%
JP MORGAN CHASE & COMPANY -2.48% 106.02 Delayed Quote.8.60%
LME COPPER CASH -0.50% 5668 End-of-day quote.-2.93%
NASDAQ 100 -3.15% 7464.994501 Delayed Quote.21.08%
NASDAQ COMP. -3.00% 7751.765644 Delayed Quote.19.79%
S&P 500 -2.59% 2847.11 Delayed Quote.16.60%
SOOCHOW SECURITIES CO LTD -0.75% 9.26 End-of-day quote.39.25%
STOXX EUROPE 600 -0.78% 371.36 Delayed Quote.9.97%
STOXX EUROPE 600 NR -0.78% 798.02 Delayed Quote.12.72%
WELLS FARGO & COMPANY -2.63% 44.42 Delayed Quote.-3.60%
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