Stocks falter, weighed down by telecoms, but April was an up month

The Standard & Poor's 500 index ended April up a modest 0.3%. It slid 2.7% in March and sank 3.9% in February. Above, the New York Stock Exchange.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index ended April up a modest 0.3%. It slid 2.7% in March and sank 3.9% in February. Above, the New York Stock Exchange.
(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

U.S. stocks fell moderately Monday, giving up an early gain, but still ended April higher. It was the first monthly increase for the market since January, as company earnings have come in better than many expected.

Indexes jumped early Monday after news of several buyout deals and more strong earnings reports, but they sagged after a few hours, weighed down by losses for telecom stocks and other areas of the market.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 148.04 points to 24,163.15. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 21.86 points to 2,648.05 and the Nasdaq composite fell 53.53 points to 7,066.27.


Dow member McDonald’s jumped 5.8% to $167.83 after it reported healthier profit and revenue than analysts expected for the first three months of the year. Sales at its restaurants open more than a year were much stronger than Wall Street had forecast.

McDonald’s joined the wave of companies to report big first-quarter earnings growth, which has been better than analysts expected. Just over half the companies in the S&P 500 have reported their earnings for the quarter, and they’re on pace to deliver overall growth of 23%, according to FactSet. That would be the strongest showing since summer 2010.

“It’s been phenomenal,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors. “Corporate earnings are doing better. Economic growth is doing better, and I think the market is begrudgingly allowing those numbers to work their way into share prices.”

The S&P 500 has been whipping higher and lower in recent months, hurt by worries about higher interest rates and trade tensions. But the index is ending April up a modest 0.3%. It slid 2.7% in March and sank 3.9% in February.

At the center of Monday’s buyout news was Sprint and T-Mobile. The pair announced a $26.5-billion deal to merge after years of considering a combination. Investors are not sure this attempt will get the necessary approvals from U.S. regulators.

Sprint shares dropped 13.7% to $5.61, T-Mobile slid 6.2% to $60.51. Other telecom stocks also fell, with Verizon retreating 4.3% to $49.35 and AT&T slipping 1% to $32.70.


Oil company Andeavor, which used to be called Tesoro, soared 13% to $138.32 — the biggest gainer in the S&P 500 — after Marathon Petroleum said it will buy the refiner and pipeline owner for more than $23 billion.

DCT Industrial Trust, a logistics real estate company, jumped 11.6% to $65.57 after Prologis, an owner of distribution centers and other logistics real estate, agreed Sunday to buy it in an all-stock deal.

Financial Engines leaped 31.5% to $44.65 after the financial advising firm agreed to be acquired by Hellman & Friedman for $45 a share in cash, or $3 billion.

ILG climbed 4.5% to $34.13 after the time-share operator agreed to be acquired by Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp.

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. slid 8.9% to $24.45 after the tire maker reported earnings and revenue that were far below analysts’ expectations.

Arconic dived 20.6% to $17.81 after the maker of engineered products for the aerospace industry, among others, forecast full-year results that missed analysts’ expectations.

In addition to being the heart of earnings reporting season for companies, this week will also feature a policy meeting for the Federal Reserve on interest rates. The Fed will announce its decision Wednesday.

On Friday, the government releases its jobs report, which is usually the most anticipated economic report of each month.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.94% from 2.96%.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 47 cents to $68.57 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 53 cents to $75.17 a barrel.

The dollar rose to 109.29 yen from 109.02 yen. The euro fell to $1.2082 from $1.2121, and the British pound slipped to $1.3748 from $1.3785.

Gold fell $4.20 to $1,319.20 an ounce. Silver fell 10 cents to $16.40 an ounce. Copper rose less than 1 cent to $3.074 a pound.


3:35 p.m.: This article was updated with closing prices, context and analyst comment.

9:45 a.m.: This article was updated more recent market prices.

This article was originally published at 7:40 a.m.