US stocks fall again despite solid earnings

New York: Wall Street stocks sagged in early trading Thursday, continuing a downward trend as worries about higher interest rates and trade tensions overshadow largely good earnings.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.8 percent to 23,743.05.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.7 percent to 2,618.43, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.6 percent to 7,059.22.

Companies in the S&P 500 are on track to report earnings-per-share growth of 22.1 percent in the first quarter, according to CFRA Research.

Yet the broader market has retreated throughout the earnings period, revealing an underlying skittishness, noted analyst Patrick O’Hare.

“Concerns about peak earnings, rising interest rates, a slowdown in growth, trade issues, and the budget deficit have all factored into the trading mix, yet the price action itself has arguably been the biggest deterrent,” O’Hare said.

“There has been a persistent inclination to sell into strength and a lack of conviction to buy on dips as a result of it.”

Among individual companies, Tesla Motors sank 5.8 percent after chief executive Elon Musk responded testily to analyst questions Wednesday about the need to raise capital and other financial matters, dismissing the queries as “boring” and “not cool” and refusing to answer.

He also said investors should not buy Tesla stock if they are afraid of volatility. “We have no interest in satisfying the desires of daytraders. I couldn’t care less,” Musk said.

DowDuPont rose 0.5 percent after reporting first-quarter results of $1.12 per share, two cents above analyst expectations.

Kraft Heinz gained 2.4 percent as it reported an 11.1 percent rise in first-quarter earnings to $993 million.