April 8, 2019 / 6:26 PM / 5 months ago

US STOCKS-Industrials weigh on Wall St as earnings season looms

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* Boeing drops after it cuts production of 737 MAX jets

* S&P 500 on course to snap 7-day winning streak

* GE slides after JPM downgrades to “underweight”

* Indexes: Dow down 0.46%, S&P off 0.07%, Nasdaq up 0.03% (Updates to mid-afternoon, changes dateline, byline)

NEW YORK, April 8 (Reuters) - Industrials bogged down Wall Street on Monday, pulling the S&P 500 and the Dow lower as investors braced for what analysts now expect to be the first quarter of contracting earnings since 2016.

While the Nasdaq eked out a small gain, the Dow was down and the S&P 500 looked set to snap its seven-day winning streak.

Boeing Co was the heaviest drag on the Dow, falling 4.8% after the company said it would cut production of its 737 MAX aircraft in response to a worldwide grounding of the jets in the wake of the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10.

“The losses are concentrated, today,” said Oliver Pursche, chief market strategist at Bruderman Asset Management in New York. “With the absence of news and heading into earnings there’s nothing particularly alarming in terms of today’s market action.”

First quarter reporting period begins in earnest, with Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co results due later in the week, kicking off what analysts now expect to be the first quarter to show a year-on-year decline in earnings since 2016.

January-March profits for S&P 500 companies are now seen contracting by 2.3% from last year, according to Refinitiv data.

“My guess is that analysts are too pessimistic but not by a whole lot,” Pursche added. “We have to wait and see but clearly it’s going to vary greatly by sector.”

Of the 125 companies in the S&P 500 that have pre-announced first quarter results, 68% have come in below analyst expectations.

Aside from a potentially downbeat earnings period, investors are grappling with a number of unknowns on the horizon, including the expected release of the full Mueller report, the growing prospect of a no-deal Brexit, and increasing signs of a global economic slowdown.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 121.15 points, or 0.46%, to 26,303.84, the S&P 500 lost 2.07 points, or 0.07%, to 2,890.67 and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.50 points, or 0.03%, to 7,941.19.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, five were in the red.

Industrials, weighed down by Boeing and General Electric Co, were the biggest percentage losers.

General Electric dropped 7.3% after JPMorgan downgraded the industrial conglomerate’s stock to “underweight” from “neutral.”

Boeing woes also weighed on the plane maker’s suppliers. Spirit AeroSystems and Triumph Group were down 7.1% and 5.1%, respectively.

New Age Beverage Corp shot up 27.4% on news that it would expand its tea and coffee brand Marley with Walmart Inc .

Snap Inc rose 4.3% following RBC Capital Markets’ upgrade of the stock to “outperform.”

Drugmaker Histogenics Corp soared 71.8% on news it would merge with privately-held Ocugen Inc.

Chipmaker Micron Technology Inc dipped 1.4% after Cowen downgraded the stock to “market perform,” citing expected margin pressures.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.08-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.26-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 53 new highs and 23 new lows. (Reporting by Stephen Culp Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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