Stocks finished mixed Monday. The Dow lost 48 points to 26,511. The S&P 500 gained 2 points to 2,907, leaving the index within 1% of its all-time high. The Nasdaq Composite added 17 points to close at 8,015.
The major averages fluctuated as investors prepared for the busiest week of corporate earnings results. According to Reuters, consensus expectations are now suggesting a 1.7% decline first-quarter profits for S&P 500 constituents, better than the 3.9% dip expected just two weeks ago. These projections could change by week end as more than a third of S&P 500 companies are set to release their quarterly results this week. On the data front, the lone update today revealed existing home sales fell 4.9% in March, worse than the forecasted 3.8% decline and February’s 11.8% increase.
Seven of 11 S&P 500 sectors ended in negative territory with the Real Estate group down the most. Energy was the top performer as WTI crude climbed 2.7% to $65.70/barrel as U.S. sanction waivers on Iranian oil exports are set to expire in two weeks. Shares of Kimberly-Clark advanced 5.4% to $130.25 after topping Wall Street profit and sales forecasts. Intuitive Surgical lost 7.0% to $491.06 after the medical equipment company’s results missed analyst expectations.
Breadth was negative on issues by 5:3 on the NYSE and 4:3 on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE Volume was more than 2.9 billion shares.
Treasuries weakened, with the yield on the 10-year note up one basis point to 2.59%. In commodities, COMEX gold added 0.1% at $1,273.50/ounce.