By Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga
Stocks fell for the second straight day Tuesday, giving up more of their recent gains as Wall Street shifts its focus on a busy week of corporate earnings reports.
The S&P 500 fell 0.7%. The benchmark index has now lost nearly all of its gain from last week. Apple fell 1.3% as part of a broad slide in technology companies. Banks also accounted for a big share of the selling, which came as bond yields fell, reversing course after moving higher on Monday.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.56% from 1.60%. Bank of America dropped 2.8% and Citigroup slid 3.2%.
Investors turned defensive, favoring utilities, real estate stocks and a mix of companies that make consumer staples like food and household products. General Mills rose 1.6% and Clorox added 3%.
The market has been swaying between gains and record highs to pullbacks as investors weigh solid economic growth against the risks still posed by the virus pandemic. That push and pull will likely continue as vaccine distribution rolls on and various industries reopen.
“Overall, we’re going to have some volatility in the market this year, but everything to me looks fairly rosy for the next six months or so,” said Sylvia Jablonski, chief investment officer at Defiance ETFs.
The S&P 500 fell 28.32 points to 4,134.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 256.33 points, or 0.8%, to 33,821.30. Both the S&P 500 and Dow hit all-time highs on Friday. After shedding an early gain, the technology-heavy Nasdaq slid 128.50 points, or 0.9%, to 13,786.27.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks, which has been outpacing the broader market all year, took a heavier loss, shedding 43.79 points, or 2%, to 2,188.21.
Investors are in the middle of first-quarter earnings season. Roughly 80 members of the S&P 500 will report their results this week, as well as one out of every three members of the Dow. Wall Street will be looking to see if Corporate America is recovering with the rest of the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.
On average, analysts expect quarterly profits across the S&P 500 to be up 24% from a year earlier, according to FactSet.
While earnings are likely to drive the market's gyrations the next few weeks, investors remain concerned about whether companies are prepared to deal with the impact of higher interest rates should inflation increase, said Greg Bassuk, CEO of Axs Investments.
“One question is with rates likely continuing to rise over the months ahead, and more importantly with inflation likely to rise, whether companies are going to be able to charge more for their products to keep up with greater expenses,” Bassuk said.
United Airlines slid 8.5% after reporting a loss that was wider than analysts were expecting, and drugmaker Abbott Laboratories fell 3.6% after reporting revenue that fell short of forecasts.
Kansas City Southern jumped 15.2% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after another Canadian railway company offered to buy the railroad for $33.7 billion, far higher than a $25 billion offer made by Canadian Pacific last month.
Netflix slumped 10.6% in after-hours trading after the video streaming pioneer said it added 4 million more worldwide subscribers from January through March, its smallest gain during that three-month period in four years. That was about 2 million fewer than both management and analysts had predicted Netflix would add during the first quarter.
Updated on April 20, 2021, at 5:31 p.m. ET.