US close: Markets end in the red as earnings season kicks off
Wall Street markets finished just below the waterline on Monday as earnings seasons began, with banking giants Citigroup and Goldman Sachs posting their first-quarter numbers.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1% to finish at 26,384.77, the S&P 500 was off 0.06% at 2,905.58, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.1% to settle at 7,976.01.
At the open, the Dow had lost 29 points as Sino-US relations remained in focus.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said over the weekend that he was hopeful talks between the two would soon come to a close.
According to Reuters, Mnuchin said on Saturday that a deal between the two nations would go "way beyond" previous agreements and that the two sides were "close to the final round" of negotiations.
“The US has been pushing China to not only make concessions as regards its current trade imbalances with the US, but to open up to greater US investment that is free from Chinese influence and make sweeping amendments to domestic practices that for many years have seen Chinese firms helping themselves, quite openly, to US intellectual property,” said analysts at Rabobank.
“Agreement over the weekend that the US would also be subject to Chinese enforcement should the US not stick to its side of the agreement was significant given this has proven a major sticking point during negotiations between both parties.
“The agreement that enforcement would be a two-way street was read as an important signal that the discussions are indeed edging ever closer to a final deal, boosting market sentiment.”
On the macroeconomic calendar, business conditions in the New York region improved more than expected in April but growth remained "fairly subdued", according to a survey released by the New York Fed.
The Empire State manufacturing index rose to 10.1 from 3.7 in March, surpassing expectations for a reading of 6.0.
Its new orders index rose to 7.5 this month from 3.0 the month before, while the shipments index increased to 8.6 from 7.7.
The delivery time gauge pushed up to 7.0 from 1.4 in March and the inventories index printed at 8.4 this month from zero the previous month.
Meanwhile, optimism about the outlook for the next six months was much lower than in March, with the index for future business conditions down 17 points to 12.4, hitting it lowest level in more than three years.
On the corporate front, Citigroup saw net income tick ahead in the first quarter of its trading year despite recording a slight departure in revenues.
The US bank reported a 2.1% improvement in net income of $4.7bn, or $1.87 per diluted share, on revenues of $18.6bn - a 1.59% drop year-on-year.
Its shares fell 0.06% by end-of-play.
Goldman Sachs shares reversed their opening fortunes, falling 3.81% by the closing bell after it too posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, but a miss on revenues.
Elsewhere, shares in Advanced Disposal Services surged 17.87% as it agreed to be bought by Waste Management in a $4.9bn deal.
Under the terms of the transaction, Waste Management will pay $33.15 a share for each Advanced Disposal share.
Shares in Waste Management were ahead 2.43%.
In other deal news, New Jersey-based Catalent shares climbed 13.15% after it agreed to buy privately-held gene therapy company Paragon Bioservices for $1.2bn.