U.S. stocks waver in uncertain trading amid earnings updates

NEW YORK — Stocks wavered in uncertain trading on Wall Street today to kick off a holiday-shortened, but earnings-heavy week.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2% as of 9:16 a.m. Central. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 160 points, or 0.5%, to 34,141 and the Nasdaq rose 0.4%.

Energy stocks gained ground as U.S. crude oil prices rose 1.3%. Valero Energy rose 1.5%. Technology stocks also gained ground. Chipmaker Nvidia rose 3.6%.

Bank stocks fell. Goldman Sachs shed 4.6% after reporting weak fourth-quarter financial results.

The broader market is coming off its best week in two months as investors review the latest round of corporate earnings to get a better sense of how much damage inflation is inflicting on the economy. Analysts still expect companies in the S&P 500 to report a drop in profits for the fourth quarter from a year earlier. That would mark the first such decline since 2020, when the pandemic was crushing the economy.

More importantly, investors are listening closely to financial updates from companies to get better determine whether inflation will continue squeezing consumes wallets and sapping corporate profits.

Several banks reported encouraging financial results last week, but also said a mild recession is likely on the horizon for the U.S. economy. United Airlines will report its latest results later today. M&T Bank and Netflix will report results on Thursday.

Inflation and how the Federal Reserve will continue its fight against high prices remains the big concern for investors as they review earnings results and corporate statements. Wall Street will also get another inflation update on Wednesday when the government issues its December report on inflation at the wholesale level before prices are passed off to consumers.