Stocks were muted Wednesday as another heavy day of corporate earnings got under way, with companies broadly posting results that have beaten analysts’ expectations.
The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended the day flat while the Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked down 0.2%, or 79.62 points.
Investors are watching earnings to determine company health following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve and elevated inflation. Companies including Abbott Labs, Baker Hughes, Morgan Stanley, Citizens Financial, Nasdaq and Travelers reported results early Wednesday, alongside regional banks such as Citizens Financial and U.S. Bancorp. IBM and Tesla were slated to release results after markets close.
Of the 9% of S&P 500 companies that have thus far reported earnings through Wednesday morning, 84% reported better-than-expected earnings per share, according to FactSet.
“Today the market is taking a bit of a pause, but so far 2023 has been much more of an up market than we would have expected,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance. The S&P 500 has risen 8.2% so far this year.
Tesla shares edged 2%, or $3.72, lower ahead of the electric-vehicle maker’s quarterly earnings. This year, the company lowered prices for models in the U.S. by 14% to 25%. Investors will be looking for information on how those cuts are affecting how much money the company makes on each car it sells.
Western Alliance Bancorp WAL 24.12% led a rally in regional bank stocks after the lender said it added $2 billion in deposits from March 31 to April 14. Its shares jumped 24%, up by $7.84, while Metropolitan Bank shares added 18%, or $5.48, after the company reported higher quarterly revenue and profit.
In bond markets, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note ticked up to 3.601%, from 3.571% Tuesday. Yields rise when prices fall.
In commodities, oiland gold prices softened. Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell almost 2% to trade at $83.12 a barrel. The most-actively traded gold futures contract declined 0.6% to $1,995.20—after closing in on record levels last week.