Stocks edged lower on Wall Street in afternoon trading Tuesday as investors pored over the latest batch of company earnings.
The slight pullback comes a day after the S&P 500 hit its latest all-time high. The market has been choppy over the last few weeks as investors gauge how companies fared during the first quarter and any other information that can help paint a clearer picture of where the economy is headed.
The S&P 500 was down less than 0.1% as of 12:45 p.m. Eastern. The broad index was evenly split between gainers and losers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 38 points, or 0.1%, to 33,942 and the Nasdaq fell 0.2%.
UPS soared 10.6% after reporting another surge in delivery volumes as well as profits that came in well ahead of what investors were expecting.
Tesla, whose stock has been soaring over the past year, fell 3.4% despite reporting stronger sales of electric vehicles.
General Electric fell 2.8% after the troubled industrial giant reported a double-digit drop in revenue and a quarter loss, as the company continues to struggle in its turnaround plan. GE's stock has been volatile this year, soaring as much as 80%.
This will be the busiest week for earnings so far this season. Investors expect U.S. corporate results due out this week to show stronger profits as coronavirus vaccines are rolled out and as consumer spending strengthens.
“What’s more of a focus is really the guidance they're giving, looking further into 2021 and beyond,” said Greg Bassuk, chairman and CEO of AXS Investments. “A lot of companies are trying to figure ultimately when the COVID-19 cloud is really going to lift.”
Investors are also watching the latest economic reports for more clues about the pace and scale of the economic recovery. Consumer confidence rose sharply for a second straight month in April, hitting the highest level since the pandemic began. Meanwhile, U.S. home prices rose in February at the fastest pace in nearly seven years as strong demand for housing collided with a tight supply of homes on the market.
The Federal Reserve starts a two-day policy meeting Tuesday. Investors expect the U.S. central bank to keep its key lending rate close to zero and inject more money into the financial system through bond purchases.
Bond yields remained relatively stable. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.58% from 1.57% late Monday.
Also in Washington, Wall Street will be paying attention to President Joe Biden's speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. The speech is expected to lay out several parts of President Biden's agenda, which will include increased infrastructure spending, likely higher taxes on the wealthy as well as higher funding for government programs.