US STOCKS-Wall St opens little changed; French election eyed


Reuters

* Visa rises as quarterly results beat estimates
    * Mattel down after reporting drop in sales
    * First round of French election to be held on Sunday
    * Dow up 0.03 pct, S&P down 0.04 pct, Nasdaq down 0.08 pct

 (Updates to open)
    By Tanya AgrawalApril 21 (Reuters) - Wall Street opened little changed on
Friday as earnings rolled in, while investors braced for the
first round of the closely contested French presidential
election.
    Centrist Emmanuel Macron is leading most opinion polls for
the election's first round on Sunday and is expected to contest
a second-round run-off with Marine Le Pen, head of the
anti-European Union and anti-immigrant National Front.
[nL8N1HR1B4]
    "Although Macron has been labeled as favorite to become the
next French President, an unexpected Marine Le Pen victory could
deal a symbolic blow to the unity of the European Union and
ultimately create a tidal wave of risk aversion," FXTM analyst
Lukman Otunuga said in a note.
    After a two-week losing streak, major indexes may cling on
to their gains this week following Thursday's rally, which was
driven partly by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's comments
that an overhaul of the tax code would be unveiled very soon.
[nL1N1HS1IU]
    "The comments about the tax reform and generally good
quarterly earnings are giving equities a bit of a boost," said
Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg,
Florida.
    Of the 82 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported
earnings through Thursday afternoon, about 75 percent have
topped expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above
the 71 percent average for the past four quarters.
    Overall, profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have
risen 11.1 percent in the quarter, the best since 2011.
    At 9:38 a.m. ET (1338 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average
<.DJI> was up 7.04 points, or 0.03 percent, at 20,585.75 and the
S&P 500 <.SPX> was down 1.11 points, or 0.04 percent, at
2,354.73.
    The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> was down 4.74 points, or 0.08
percent, at 5,912.03.
    Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the
telecommunications index's <.SPLRCL> 0.53 percent fall leading
the decliners.
    On the economic front, data is expected to show March
existing home sales expanded slightly to 5.6 million from 5.48
million in February. The data is expected at 10 a.m. ET (1400
GMT).
    Oil prices edged lower, on course for the biggest weekly
drop in a month, over doubts that an OPEC-led production cut
will restore balance to an oversupplied market. [O/R]
    Shares of Dow component Visa <V.N> were up 1.4 percent at
$92.40 after the payments network operator's quarterly results
beat expectations. [nL3N1HS5R0]
    General Electric <GE.N> was little changed at $30.30 after
the company's revenue beat Wall Street expectations.
[nL3N1HT3QI]
    Schlumberger <SLB.N> was down 3.2 percent at $74.12 after
the oilfield services provider said costs would continue to
weigh on margins over the next two quarters.
    Mattel <MAT.O> fell 5.7 percent to $23.76 after the toymaker
reported a far bigger-than-expected quarterly loss and drop in
sales. [nL3N1HS5QJ]
    Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,455
to 1,081. On the Nasdaq, 1,375 issues fell and 843 advanced.
    The S&P 500 index showed nine new 52-week highs and one new
low, while the Nasdaq recorded 23 new highs and six new lows.

 (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
 ((tanya.agrawal@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223
8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 1130; Reuters Messaging:
tanya.agrawal.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: USA STOCKS/ (UPDATE 2)



This article appears in: Politics , World Markets , Stocks , US Markets
Referenced Symbols: DJI , GE , INX , MAT , SLB


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