S&P, Nasdaq dip as healthcare, financials weigh; IBM keeps Dow higher

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(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq reversed course to dip slightly on Wednesday due to losses in healthcare and financial sectors, while the Dow stayed afloat on positive earnings reports from IBM, United Technologies and Procter & Gamble.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower. The healthcare sector .SPXHC dropped 0.5 percent, with Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) falling 2.4 percent after projecting current-quarter earnings below analysts’ estimates.

The financials sector .SPSY was weighed by a 6.38 percent fall in Capital One Financial (COF.N), after the regional bank’s quarterly revenue missed estimates.

Wall Street’s attempt to rebound from a more than 1 percent loss on Tuesday, which was spurred by worries about slowing global growth, was bolstered by a string of strong corporate earnings.

The blue-chip index .DJI was buoyed by International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N), which jumped 7.46 percent after projecting 2019 profit above expectations.

Gains in shares of IBM also lifted the S&P technology sector .SPLRCT, which rose 0.10 percent.

“It’s a relatively quiet day and some of this is just snap back from yesterday,” said Paul Springmeyer, head of investments at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

“As the information continues to come out, everybody is realizing that we’re in a slowing earnings environment, yet have to remind ourselves that is a positive one.”

Of the 76 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far, 77.6 percent have beat Wall Street’s profit estimates and that is above the historical average of 64 percent, according to Refinitiv data.

However, earnings growth estimates have dropped to 14.2 percent from 20.1 percent at the start of October. At 11:22 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 50.43 points, or 0.21 percent, at 24,454.91, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 3.01 points, or 0.11 percent, at 2,629.89 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 12.09 points, or 0.17 percent, at 7,008.26.

A 3.48 percent rise in United Technologies Corp (UTX.N), which reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped the industrials sector .SPLRCI eke out a 0.12 percent gain.

The consumer staples sector .SPLRCS gained 0.62 percent, the most among the 11 major S&P sector, after Procter & Gamble Co’s (PG.N) quarterly revenue beat Wall Street expectation. Its shares rose 4.20 percent.

The biggest decliner in the sector was Kimberly-Clark Corp (KMB.N), which fell 2.62 percent after its quarterly profit missed analysts’ estimates due to rising raw materials costs and a strong U.S. dollar.

The energy index .SPNY slipped 0.56 percent after oil prices fell. [O/R]

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.10-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.21-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded four new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 16 new highs and 18 new lows.

Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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