US STOCKS-Wall St slips as investors brace for French election


* Mattel top drag on Nasdaq after bigger-than-expected loss
    * Schlumberger weighs on S&P 500 after margin warning
    * First round of French election to be held on Sunday
    * Indexes down: Dow 0.11 pct, S&P 0.27 pct, Nasdaq 0.20 pct

 (Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)
    By Tanya AgrawalApril 21 (Reuters) - Wall Street slipped in late morning
trading on Friday as investors held off from making risky bets
ahead of the first round of the closely contested French
presidential election.
    Centrist Emmanuel Macron is leading most opinion polls for
Sunday's election 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 are on track
to post weekly gains following Thursday's rally, which was
driven by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's comments that the
Trump administration would unveil a tax reform plan very soon.
    A steady stream of strong earnings through the week
continued to bolster market sentiment.
    Of the 95 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported
earnings through Friday morning, 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 11.2 percent in the quarter, the best since 2011.
    "The earning season has been tremendous so far and while
we're still relatively early in the season, we're off to a great
start," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and
derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
    At 11:15 a.m. ET (1515 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average
<.DJI> was down 23.31 points, or 0.11 percent, at 20,555.4, the
S&P 500 <.SPX> was down 6.41 points, or 0.27 percent, at
2,349.43 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> was down 11.89 points,
or 0.2 percent, at 5,904.88.
    Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the
telecommunications index's <.SPLRCL> 0.89 percent fall leading
the decliners.
    Shares of General Electric <GE.N> fell 1.1 percent to $29.94
after the company reported negative cash flow from its
industrial operations in the first quarter. [nL3N1HT3QI]
    Schlumberger <SLB.N> was down 3.1 percent at $74.17 after
the oilfield services provider warned that margins would remain
under pressure as it spends more to bring back idled equipment.
The stock was the biggest drag on the S&P.
    Mattel <MAT.O> fell as much as 11.3 percent to an 18-month
low of $22.35 after the toymaker reported a bigger-than-expected
quarterly loss. [nL3N1HS5QJ]
    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]
    Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,535
to 1,175. On the Nasdaq, 1,584 issues fell and 974 advanced.
    The S&P 500 index showed 23 new 52-week highs and one new
low, while the Nasdaq recorded 53 new highs and 16 new lows.

 (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
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Keywords: USA STOCKS/ (UPDATE 3)

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

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