FILE - In this July 22, 2019, file photo trader William Lawrence works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks moved lower in early trading on Wall Street Monday, July 29, as investors pulled back after pushing stocks to record highs last week. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Stocks edge lower to open busy week for earnings, Fed

July 29, 2019 - 9:15 am

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks moved lower in midday trading on Wall Street Monday as investors pulled back after pushing stocks to record highs last week.

Investors started the week with a cautious approach and are keeping a close watch on the Federal Reserve's policy meeting this week, along with trade negotiations and corporate earnings reports.

Amazon led a wide range of consumer-oriented companies lower and technology stocks fell broadly, led by Microsoft. Facebook led communications stocks lower.

Health care stocks were mostly propped up by pharmaceutical companies ahead of some key earnings. The sector held up better than the rest of the market in the early going.

The key focus this week will be the Federal Reserve. Wall Street expects the central bank to cut interest rates for the first time in a decade on Wednesday to help ensure U.S. economic growth in the face of trade uncertainty.

The U.S. and China head into another round of trade negotiations on Tuesday. Investors are hoping the nations can avoid another escalation in tariffs like the one that occurred two months ago after talks fell apart.

Companies are just about halfway done with corporate earnings season and the slowdown in profit growth isn't as severe as analysts initially forecast. There are still plenty of big companies rep1orting results, including Apple on Tuesday and General Motors on Thursday.

Investors are also awaiting the government's monthly jobs report for July, which will be released on Friday.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 0.2% as of noon Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 68.5 points, or 0.3%, to 27,259. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.6%.

THE BIG PICTURE: A record run for stocks at the end of last week kept the broader market on track for another month of gains. The S&P 500 is up 2.7% in July and the Nasdaq is up 3.4%.

HEALTH DEALS: Pfizer slid 1.4% after the drug company said it will spin off one of its units, Upjohn, which will then combine with Mylan, which makes generic pharmaceuticals. Upjohn sells one-time blockbusters like Viagra and Lipitor that have lost patent protection. Mylan soared 13%.

Cancer diagnostics company Exact Sciences fell 8.8% after announcing a cash and stock buyout of diagnostic test maker Genomic Health, which rose 3.5%.

SKID MARKS: Cooper Tire & Rubber fell 9.1% after falling far short of Wall Street's second quarter financial forecasts because of a weak tire market in China and Europe. Higher tariff costs and a lingering weak tire market will continue to hurt the company in 2019 and it no longer expects volume growth.

OVERSEAS: European markets moved broadly higher. The FTSE 100 in London posted the strongest gains among indexes with a gain on 1.9%. The index spiked sharply at one point amid the continuing selling of the pound, which helps British exporters.

Asian markets were broadly lower. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 1% after another weekend of protests, where police repeatedly fired tear gas and rubber bullets to drive back demonstrators.

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This update corrects details of the Mylan-Pfizer deal.