The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were lower on Monday in choppy trading as energy and financial stocks lost ground and caution grew ahead of a slew of earnings reports this week.
Technology sector gains limited losses on the S&P 500 and helped to lift the Nasdaq. The beaten-down S&P technology index was up 0.8 percent.
The S&P 500 energy index fell 1.1 percent after Halliburton warned that fourth-quarter earnings would miss estimates amid ongoing weakness in the North American hydraulic fracturing market. Halliburton fell 3 percent and rival oilfield services provider Schlumberger was down 2.9 percent.
While earnings of S&P 500 companies are expected to show a gain of 21.9 percent in the third quarter, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv, the primary focus is on the outlook for the possible impediment of future growth due to trade wars, rising costs and other factors.
The Dow swung between gains and losses of more than 100 points early in the session, highlighting the market’s volatility as stocks struggle to recover from a recent sell-off even as the earnings season gathers steam.
The S&P 500 remained below its 200-day moving average, a key technical level.
The S&P 500 financial index fell 2.1 percent and was the largest drag on the S&P 500. Meanwhile, the Treasury yield curve flattened to its lowest level in more than two weeks.
Early in the session, a surge in China stocks and positive sentiment across Europe on Moody’s decision to keep Italy’s sovereign rating outlook stable helped to support stocks.
Approximately 6.9 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 7.8 billion share daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to I/B/E/S data.
Linde – Praxair detail To Go Through
Praxair and Linde won U.S. antitrust approval for their $86 billion merger on Monday, clearing the last hurdle for the deal in the nick of time.
The all-share merger of equals will create an industry leader with revenues of about $27 billion based on 2017 figures, and 80,000 employees across more than 100 countries, which will be called Linde plc. That will make it larger than France’s Air Liquide, which merged with rival Airgas.
Shares in Linde rose 4 percent, while Praxair shares were up 2.4 percent. Shares will be listed in both New York and Frankfurt.
The Federal Trade Commission said on Monday that the companies would have to divest assets in nine industrial gases product markets in United States as part of a settlement that resolves antitrust charges.
The companies had been up against a Wednesday deadline to complete the deal under German financial market rules, almost two years after agreeing the deal in principle in December 2016.
Under a finely balanced power-sharing agreement, the new company will be registered in Dublin, board meetings will be held in London, and operating headquarters will be in both Munich and Danbury, Connecticut, with Chief Executive Steve Angel and finance chief Matt White based in the latter.
Linde said last week it had agreed with FTC staff on remedies to secure approval but that the package was still under review by FTC’s top-level commissioners.
All other relevant competition authorities have previously given the green light, including the European Commission, which was won over by a deal to sell Praxair’s European gases business to Japanese rival Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corp.
The companies have until Jan. 29 next year to complete certain divestitures in the United States, and need to remain separate and independent companies until the majority of these deals are wrapped up, Linde said.