MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stocks Finish Lower After Weak Earnings; Investors Await Fed

By Joseph Adinolfi and Wallace Witkowski, MarketWatch

Oil futures settle lower after choppy session

U.S. stocks finished lower Monday, but pared their declines heading into the close, as investors weighed a round of lackluster earnings and awaited the conclusion of a Federal Reserve policy meeting later in the week.

 The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 26.51 points, or 0.2%, to 17,977.24, as Caterpillar Inc.(CAT) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.(GS) led blue chips lower. Earlier, the average was down by as many as 148 points.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 was down 3.79 points, or 0.2%, to 2,087.79, led by declines in energy and industrial-sector shares. Earlier, the index was off by 14 points.

The Nasdaq Composite lost 10.44 points, or 0.2%, to 4,895.79, nearly halving an earlier 28-point intraday drop.

Mike Antonelli, an equity sales trader at R.W Baird & Co., said the price moves were magnified by below average trading volume as investors awaited a statement from the Federal Reserve, expected Wednesday afternoon New York Time.

“We didn’t see any particular news event,” Antonelli said. “Markets can move sharply in quiet times because [trading] is just so thin.”

Central bank policy is expected to remain a prominent theme this week. Signs of rising inflation in the U.S. might influence the Fed to adopt slightly more hawkish language in its monetary policy statement, analysts said.


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