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Wall Street slips on concerns over inflation impact on profits

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(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes edged lower in choppy trading on Tuesday on worries over the impact of rising inflation on the upcoming third-quarter earnings, but a rise in Tesla shares after record China-made vehicles limited losses on the Nasdaq.

FILE PHOTO: People are seen on Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Most mega-caps growth names including Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Facebook Inc gave up early gains to trade lower.

But Tesla bucked the trend, adding 1.4% after data showed the electric vehicle maker sold 56,006 China-made vehicles in September, the highest since it started production in Shanghai about two years ago.

Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sector declined in early trading, led by energy shares. Financials slipped 0.5% ahead of bank earnings that will start with JPMorgan Chase & Co on Wednesday.

However, higher oil prices and supply chain disruptions have set off alarm bells for businesses and consumers in the run-up to quarterly reports from companies.

“Market participants could stay concerned over high energy prices translating into further acceleration in inflation, and thereby faster tightening by major central banks,” said Charalambos Pissouros, head of research at JFD Group.

Analysts expect a 29.6% year-over-year increase in profit for S&P 500 companies in the third quarter, according to IBES data from Refinitiv as of Friday.

“Right now we are in an information vacuum and the market is mainly looking forward to the earnings season… and that is really going to set the pace,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital Llc in New York.

“Expectations are quite low for the third quarter with Delta and everything else, really setting the stage for companies to beat beyond expectations.”

Shares of Nike Inc rose 1.2% to provide the biggest boost to the Dow and the S&P 500 after Goldman Sachs started coverage of the sportswear maker’s stock with a “buy” rating.

MGM Resorts International jumped 6.1% and was the top gainer on the benchmark index after Credit Suisse upgraded the U.S. casino operator’s stock to “outperform” from “neutral”.

At 10:20 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 64.42 points, or 0.19%, at 34,431.64, the S&P 500 was down 5.59 points, or 0.13%, at 4,355.60, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 10.81 points, or 0.07%, at 14,475.39.

Investors also awaited the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s meeting on Wednesday for clues on taper timeline, while inflation and retail sales data will be scrutinized to gauge the pace of economic recovery.

Fed’s Vice Chair Richard Clarida, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin are slated to speak at separate events later in the day.

American Airlines added 0.3% after it forecast a smaller-than-expected adjusted net loss for the third quarter.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.42-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.35-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded six new 52-week highs and 10 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 25 new highs and 44 new lows.

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