U.S. stocks followed a record-setting day with more subdued trading Wednesday as investors continue digesting a steady flow of corporate earnings and a potential break in the trade war between the U.S. and China.
Stocks are essentially stalling and bond prices are rising as investors pull back into a more defensive position. Real estate companies and utilities, both typically considered less-risky investments, are gaining early, while health care companies and banks lag.
Analysts have been expecting a contraction in first-quarter corporate profits, but the results so far have been mostly solid. That trend continued with profit beats from e-commerce company eBay and industrial giant General Dynamics.
Anadarko surged as Occidental tries to push out Chevron in a bidding war for the company. Boeing rose 1%, despite a disappointing first quarter report and a pulled forecast because of its troubled 737 Max.
Investors have been becoming more confident that the economy will continue to grow steadily after the Federal Reserve indicated it would hold off on raising interest rates. However, there are still threats to the economy from international trade disputes.
The U.S. and China are still embroiled in a trade war that has raised costs for several companies. Others, like Caterpillar, are seeing lower revenue in Asia because of the dispute.
A U.S. delegation will visit Beijing next week to continue trade negotiations. Chinese officials will visit Washington for more talks starting May 8. They are aimed at resolving a dispute over Beijing’s technology policies and other issues that have clouded the economic outlook and shaken financial markets.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index edged up 0.1% as of 10:10 a.m. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq composite were little changed.
THERE WILL BE BIDS: Occidental Petroleum started a bidding war for Anadarko Petroleum as the oil industry’s largest companies try to secure their positions in the oil-rich Permian Basin.
Occidental fell 3% after it offered $57 billion in cash and stock for Anadarko Petroleum. Anadarko surged 11% and Chevron fell 1.8%.
SLUGGISH ROOMBA: IRobot plunged 20% after the robotics company’s revenue fell short of Wall Street forecasts.
The company is best-known for its robotic Roomba vacuum. It beat profit forecasts for the quarter and gave investors solid guidance for the year, but it wasn’t enough to overcome disappointing revenue growth.