Stocks close mixed as rally wanes, earnings pour in

U.S. stocks lost steam Tuesday after back-to-back days of gains as investors evaluated another round of quarterly financial results from companies.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) slipped 0.1%, while Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) rose a modest 0.3%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC), meanwhile, was off by roughly the same margin.

Earlier in the session, dozens of names on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) were temporarily halted for volatility after an apparent glitch before resuming regular trading around 9:50 a.m. ET.

“On January 24, 2023, due to a system issue, the NYSE did not conduct opening auctions in a subset of its listed securities,” the exchange said in a statement. “This system issue resulted in continuous trading of those securities commencing at 9:30 a.m. without an opening auction print.”

Major stocks briefly affected by the apparent technical issue included Morgan Stanley (MS), AT&T (T), McDonalds (MCD), and Walmart (WMT).

Among specific names in focus Tuesday, shares of Verizon (VZ) edged 2% higher after the company reported what the company deemed its best subscribed growth in seven years for the last three months of 2022 while forecasting annual profit below analyst estimates.

General Electric’s (GE) stock rose 1.7% after the industrials company delivered an upbeat profit forecast, citing strong demand for its jet engines and power equipment. The advance came even as GE reported a fourth-quarter profit that was weighed down by its renewable energy business.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) shares closed little changed after the healthcare giant reported full-year guidance above expectations despite the company’s chief executive officer warning earlier this year of an uncertain macroeconomic outlook.

Shares of 3M Company (MMM) tumbled 6.2% after the manufacturing conglomerate reported a lower profit over an inflation-related drop in demand for items including air purifiers and respirators, while announcing it would cut 2,500 jobs.

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) reported results after the closing bell. Shares were up more than 3% in after-hours trading after the tech giant beat analyst expectations on earnings per share while slightly missing revenue expectations.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during opening bell in New York City on January 18, 2023. - Wall Street stocks climbed early on January 18, 2023, on easing worries about further Federal Reserve moves to aggressively counter inflation following the latest US economic data. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during opening bell in New York City on January 18, 2023. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

In other pockets of the market, the U.S. dollar steadied after falling to the lowest in nine months across recent days, while in commodities, oil futures retreated. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil — the U.S. benchmark — fell 1.8% to trade near $80 per barrel.

The earnings season has been off to a milder start. The fourth-quarter net profit margin for the S&P 500 so far is 11.4%, below the previous quarter’s net profit margin of 11.9% and below the year-ago net profit margin of 12.4%, according to FactSet data. Moreover, consensus earnings estimates for 2023 have steadily trended lower.

On the economic front, Thursday’s gross domestic product (GDP) reading is the highlight of the week. However, investors remain squarely focused on the Federal Reserve’s next rate announcement at the start of February, with officials expected to downshift to a smaller hike.

The CME FedWatch Tool, which serves as a barometer for imminent Fed rate and U.S. monetary policy, shows markets were pricing in a 99.1% chance of a 25-basis point hike as of Tuesday.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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