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* Alphabet set for worst day in 7 yrs on revenue miss
* Merck, Pfizer rise after earnings beat
* GE jumps on higher profit, slower cash burn
* Two-day FOMC meeting kicks off
* Indexes off: Dow 0.15%, S&P 0.25%, Nasdaq 0.90% (Updates to early afternoon)
By Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar
April 30 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq on Tuesday retreated from all-time highs hit in the previous session, after shares of Google-parent Alphabet tumbled following a revenue miss and Apple dropped ahead of its results.
The two major indexes broke above record levels on Monday as investors took comfort from a largely positive earnings season, benign inflation data and hints of progress in U.S.-China trade talks.
Despite the drop, the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq are set to clock their best monthly gains since January.
Alphabet Inc shares fell 8.28% and were on track for their worst decline since January 2012, after the company also posted its slowest revenue growth in three years.
The S&P communication services sector slid 2.68%, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors and was on pace for its biggest percentage fall in over four months.
Apple Inc dropped 2.09% ahead of results later in the day, which will wrap up earnings for the high-growth FAANG stocks.
“People are definitely taking some profits off names like Apple, Google. There could be a little ‘peaking’ mentality here considering how indexes are at record levels, people tend to get a bit cautious,” said Jeremy Bryan, portfolio manager at Gradient Investments in Arden Hills, Minnesota.
“Large-cap companies have generally reported better-than-expected numbers but not the kind that would accelerate a rally.”
Limiting losses on the Dow Jones Industrial Average was Chevron Corp. The company’s shares rose 2.22% after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc put $10 billion behind Occidental Petroleum Corp’s bid for smaller rival Anadarko Petroleum Corp as it tries to see off competition from Chevron.
In a big day for healthcare, Pfizer Inc added 3.26% and Merck & Co Inc rose 2.10% after the drugmakers beat quarterly earnings estimates.
With over half of the S&P 500 companies reporting, analysts now expect a 0.7% rise in first-quarter profit, a stark reversal from a 2% fall estimated at the beginning of the month, according to Refinitiv data.
General Electric Co gained 3.03% after the industrial conglomerate’s first-quarter profit rose and it lost less cash than expected.
Mastercard Inc rose 2.12% to a record after the card company beat estimates for quarterly profit.
At 12:50 p.m. ET the Dow was down 40.87 points, or 0.15%, at 26,513.52. The S&P 500 was down 7.37 points, or 0.25%, at 2,935.66 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 73.16 points, or 0.90%, at 8,088.69.
Perrigo Co Plc slid 8.38%, the most among S&P 500 companies, after a revised notice from the tax authorities proposed additional liability.
Investors will also pay close attention to the next two rounds of U.S.-China trade negotiations. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he hopes to make “substantial progress” with Chinese negotiators.
The Fed’s two-day meeting starting on Tuesday will also be in focus for hints on the direction of interest rates.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.12-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.97-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 36 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 64 new highs and 36 new lows. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sriraj Kalluvila)