US stocks pulled back slightly on Monday as investors awaited a barrage of major earnings reports this week, the busiest this earnings season, while a jump in energy stocks kept losses in check.
The S&P 500 logged slight losses for the holiday-shortened week, however the benchmark was about 1% away from a record high hit in September, boosted in part by largely positive earnings.
About a third of the S&P 500 companies, including Boeing Co , Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc, will report this week, determining whether investors should be concerned about the start of an earnings recession or whether back-to-back quarters of negative growth can be avoided.
S&P 500 profits are expected to drop 1.7% year-over-year, according to Refinitiv data, in what could be the first earnings contraction since 2016.
"Q1 earnings have largely been a pleasant surprise thus far, but have not ignited investor enthusiasm enough to move the needle in a meaningful way," Peter Kenny, founder of Strategic Board Solutions LLC in New York, wrote in a client note.
"Given the waning volume and advance/decline metrics evidenced by equity markets in recent weeks, it would be justifiable to be concerned."
The S&P energy index jumped 1%, the most among the major S&P sectors, as oil prices surged on the United States' move to further clampdown on Iranian oil exports, tightening global supplies.
Halliburton Co was flat after gaining earlier. The oilfield services provider said a pricing downturn that has plagued the sector was bottoming out as it reported modestly higher activity levels in North America in the first quarter.
At 10:02 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 56.52 points, or 0.21%, at 26,503.02, the S&P 500 was down 0.17 points, or 0.01%, at 2,904.86 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 3.26 points, or 0.04%, at 7,994.80.
The technology sector declined 0.13%, weighed down by a fall in shares of Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp , which are scheduled to report their results this week.
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