Wall Street dips as gloomy forecasts weigh on sentiment

(Reuters) – The three main U.S. indexes retreated slightly on Wednesday from two-month highs, as videogame makers reported disappointing revenue forecasts, while investors waited for more clarity on U.S.-China trade developments.

FILE PHOTO – Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Electronic Arts Inc and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc tumbled more than 13 percent, leading the communication services sector down 1.43 percent, the most among the nine major sectors in the red.

The technology sector, up 0.20 percent, was boosted by chipmakers with the Philadelphia chip index rising 2.87 percent.

Apple supplier Skyworks Solutions Inc jumped 11.64 percent after announcing a $2 billion buyback, while Microchip Technology rose 8.06 percent after the company suggested a recent chip industry downturn was nearing a bottom.

The possibility of the S&P 500 extending its winning streak for the sixth straight day was under pressure.

“It’s been a mixed bag of earnings reports and concerns still loom, it’s uncertainty that causes these pauses in the markets,” said Brian Yacktman, chief investment officer at YCG Enhanced Fund in Austin, Texas.

“The uncertainty of the ongoing trade negotiations with China has been looming over the markets and once there is certainty on the outcome, there is no question that markets will breathe a sigh of relief.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said trade talks with China last week were “very productive” and confirmed that he and other officials will travel to Beijing for the next round of meetings, as the world’s biggest economies aim to clinch a deal to avert a March 2 increase in U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

A strong run in stocks recently, boosted by U.S.-China trade optimism and a dovish stance from the Federal Reserve has put the benchmark index about 7 percent away from its record closing high in September, after it fell about 20 percent from that level last year.

Earnings have also been contributing to market optimism. About 70 percent of more than half of the S&P 500 companies that have reported topped profit expectations, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

At 12:56 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 12.02 points, or 0.05 percent, at 25,399.50, the S&P 500 was down 6.13 points, or 0.22 percent, at 2,731.57 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 27.05 points, or 0.37 percent, at 7,375.04.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp slid 5.83 percent after the oil and gas producer reported a fourth-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates.

On the upside, Capri Holdings Ltd, formerly Michael Kors, jumped 10.61 percent after the company posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its revenue forecast.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump offered no specific economic policy initiatives in his State of the Union address and reiterated his vow to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Also expected on Wednesday is Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s address at 7:00 p.m. ET (0000 GMT) in Virginia.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.55-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.12-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 15 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 33 new highs and 11 new lows.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Amy Caren Daniel; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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