U.S. stocks fluctuated, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index poised for its worst week since April, as investors weighed corporate earnings and the implications of a debt crisis at a Portuguese bank.
The S&P 500 added less than 0.1 percent to 1,965.16 at 9:31 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.25 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 16,961.32.
“People are going to keep one eye on earnings and one eye on peripheral debt,” Chad Morganlander, a money manager at St. Louis-based Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., which oversees about $160 billion, said in a phone interview. “Debt concerns may trump earnings in the short-term, but as long as we have solid numbers for this quarter, markets overall should be fine.”
The S&P 500 fell 0.4 percent yesterday as signs of financial stress among Portuguese banks fueled concern over the strength of the European recovery. The equity gauge has dropped 1.1 percent this week, heading for its biggest slump in three months.
Portugal’s second-largest lender sought to reassure investors today by revealing its exposure to related companies after a missed payment on short-term debt by a member of the Portuguese group.
The S&P 500 trimmed losses of as much as 1 percent yesterday amid speculation the day’s initial selloff was overdone. The gauge slipped 1.1 percent in the first two days of the week on concern equities had risen too far, too fast.