Stocks end mixed as investors eye Fed rate call

Wall Street, which is riding a four-week winning streak, kicked off a busy week quietly Monday as it awaited a slew of earnings releases, fresh data on the economy and a Federal Reserve meeting on interest rates.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, which gained 2.1% last week on the heels of a interest rate by the Bank of China and hints of more stimulus ahead from the European Central Bank, closed down 0.2%.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 0.1% and the Nasdaq composite inched up less than 0.1%.

This week, traders will digest earnings reports from 169 companies in the S&P 500, according to earnings-tracker Thomson Reuters. The third-quarter earnings picture, so far, has been better than expected.

Seven out of 10 companies have topped profit forecasts, and while earnings are still expected to contract 2.8% this quarter for the first time since 2009, that’s better than the projections of earnings falling more than 4% at the start of the earnings season.

Today’s earnings releases are expected from 10 companies in the S&P 500. Well-known companies such as Xerox (XRX)and Broadcom (BRCM) report.

But the major market-moving earnings reports don’t kick in until Tuesday, when iPhone maker Apple (AAPL), automaker Ford (F), drug makers Merck (MRK) and Pfizer (PFE) and package delivery giant UPS (UPS) report.

Heading into the week, the S&P 500 was up 0.8% for the year but still down 2.6% from its May 21 record close of 2130.82.

economyCopyright: USA Today