Wall St. Opens Flat as Investors Await Big Earnings

The S&P 500 has been trading at about 18 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months, compared with the long-term average of 15 times.

“The U.S. market isn’t cheap right now,” said Phil Guarco, global investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

“Earnings are going to take an important role. We’re in a situation where the corporate profits and the profits they are going to deliver in the future will be of keen interest.”

At 9:40 a.m. ET (1340 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 6.09 points, or 0.03 percent, at 21,631.65, the S&P 500 was down 0.37 points, or 0.01 percent, at 2,458.90.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 3.02 points, or 0.05 percent, at 6,315.48.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the telecommunications index’s 0.28 percent rise leading the advancers.

The financial sector led the laggards with a 0.43 percent fall after results and forecasts on Friday by big banks such as JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo failed to excite investors.

Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs will report results later this week.

The Dow and the S&P hit record highs on Friday after weak economic data dulled prospects of more interest rate hikes this year.

Last week, investor sentiment got a boost after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said future rate hikes could be gradual in the face of persistently low inflation. The Fed will meet next on July 25-26.

Shares of BlackRock fell 3 percent after the world’s biggest asset manager’s quarterly profit came in below expectations.

General Cable jumped 7.2 percent after the cable manufacturer announced on Sunday a review of strategic alternatives that could include a potential sale of the company.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,329 to 1,213. On the Nasdaq, 1,340 issues fell and 1,032 advanced.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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