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Stocks close lower amid sharp pullback in tech sector

CNBC logo CNBC 4/30/2018 Fred Imbert and Alexandra Gibbs

Stocks fell Monday, giving up gains seen earlier in the session, as the telecommunications sector suffered a sharp pullback.

The S&P 500 ended 0.82 percent lower, with telecom falling more than 2 percent to lead 10 of 11 sectors lower. The decline followed news Sunday that T-Mobile agreed to buy Sprint for $26.5 billion. Some analysts are skeptical the deal will get federal approval, and shares of both companies were trading sharply lower Monday.

The Dow erased earlier gains of 187 points to finish points 148 lower, but the index eked out a small gain for April.

Boeing contributed the most to Monday's declines, while McDonald's and Apple had the greatest positive impact. The iPhone maker is set to report earnings after the close Tuesday, while the fast-food giant reported better-than-expected earnings Monday morning.

The Nasdaq closed 0.75 percent lower, weighed down by declines in Microsoft. The stock briefly fell more than 2.1 percent.

"People became a little too complacent last week," said Ilya Feygin, a managing director and senior strategist at WallachBeth Capital. "The global economy has downshifted in the last few months and it's disappointed high expectations."

Monday also marks the last trading day of April, which is on pace to be the first positive month in three for the major indexes. Stocks opened higher, helped by a flurry of deal announcements and encouraging earnings reports.

Logistics company Prologis is acquiring DCT Industrial Trust for $8.4 billion in an all-stock deal. DCT Industrial's shares popped more than 11.5 percent. Marriott Vacations, the hotel chain's timeshare business, is also buying rival ILG for $4.7 billion.

Meanwhile, shares of Andeavor jumped 13 percent after Marathon Petroleum agreed to acquire it for $23 billion.

"This is really a byproduct of the same source of better sentiment, which is government backing off," said Maris Ogg, president at Tower Bridge Advisors.

In earnings news, Botox-maker Allergan posted a better-than-expected profit for the previous quarter. McDonald's earnings also beat the Street, sending the Dow component 4.9 percent higher.

"I'm encouraged by the reaction to McDonald's earnings," said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA. She also said that several companies have seen their stocks initially rise and then fall after reporting better-than-expected earnings. "For the most part, it seems like investors are taking advantage of any pop in stocks to take profits," she said.

Bell added, however, this earnings season has been strong. Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported through Monday morning, 79.3 percent have reported stronger-than-forecast earnings, according to FactSet. More than 100 S&P 500 companies are scheduled to report earnings this week, including Apple and Mondelez International.

In economic news, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index posted last month its biggest year-over-year gain since February 2017. The so-called core PCE — which strips out food and energy — jumped 1.9 percent through March. The core PCE is the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation.

The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield briefly fell to its lowest since April 20, while the 2-year yield traded near 2.5 percent. The U.S. dollar index rose slightly.


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