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US: Stocks retreat ahead of key earnings, ECB

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 06:20
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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks retreated Monday ahead of a trove of key earnings reports and a closely-watched policy decision by the European Central Bank.

Analysts described investor sentiment as cautious ahead of upcoming results this week from Microsoft, McDonald's, United Continental and others.

Also, ECB chief Mario Draghi will be under pressure to clarify the bank's stimulus plans at a news conference on Thursday.

"The burden of proof lies with the bulls to demonstrate that the market can in fact move higher with all the various economic and political headwinds that we are currently facing," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.3 per cent to 18,086.40.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.3 per cent to 2,126.50, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.3 per cent to 5,199.82.

Dow member Caterpillar lost 0.4 per cent as it announced that chief executive Doug Oberhelman would step down to be replaced by Jim Umpleby, currently a group president overseeing energy and transportation.

Mr Oberhelman was behind Caterpillar's 2011 purchase of mining equipment maker Bucyrus just ahead of the prolonged slump in the mining and energy industries.

Bank of America gained 0.3 per cent after it reported that third-quarter net profit rose 6.6 per cent to US$4.5 billion, easily topping analyst expectations.

Toymaker Hasbro surged 7.4 per cent as third-quarter earnings jumped 24.1 per cent to US$256.2 million behind strong sales for fashion and dolls tied to Disney's "Princess" and "Frozen" franchises.

Mattel, another toy company, rose 0.3 per cent.

AFP