US STOCKS-Wall Street drifts lower; S&P 500 on track for third straight month of gains

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(Reuters) – Wall Street’s three main indexes fell on Friday as investors hit pause after a barrage of strong quarterly earnings and upbeat economic data put the benchmark S&P 500 index on track for a third straight month of gains following a record run.

FILE PHOTO: A street sign, Wall Street, is seen outside New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., January 3, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The Nasdaq is also positioned for six consecutive months of gains, boosted by a rally in shares of big technology companies following their impressive results this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is set to end in the positive territory for three months in a row.

“A lot of the earnings is already in, and so the market has entered a fatigue environment and investors are now going to assess the economic picture,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital in New York.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were trading lower, with technology and energy leading declines.

Amazon.com Inc rose 1.6% after posting record profits and signaling that consumers would keep spending in a growing U.S. economy and converts to online shopping are not likely to leave.

Twitter Inc plunged 13.0% as it offered tepid revenue forecast for the second quarter, saying user growth could slow as the boost seen during the coronavirus pandemic fizzles.

Other high-flying stocks, including Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc, Apple Inc and Netflix Inc, fell between 0.2% and 0.9%.

Data on Friday showed U.S. consumer spending rebounded in March amid a surge in income as households received additional COVID-19 pandemic relief money from the government.

At 9:44 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 143.96 points, or 0.42%, at 33,916.40, the S&P 500 was down 20.75 points, or 0.49%, at 4,190.72 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 70.11 points, or 0.50%, at 14,012.43.

Chevron Corp shed 2.2% after its first-quarter profit fell 29%, hit by weaker refining margins and production losses.

AbbVie Inc rose 0.2% after beating estimates for quarterly revenue and profit and raised its 2021 earnings forecast, helped by demand for its rheumatoid arthritis drug in the United States.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.20-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 2.05-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 29 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 23 new highs and 18 new lows.

Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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