Stock market opens flat as Wall Street weighs bank results in unofficial start to fourth-quarter earnings

U.S. stock indexes on Tuesday were trading slightly lower as investors pored over quarterly results from JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo to commence the start of fourth-quarter earnings season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.02% declined 0.1% at 28,900, the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.20% retreated 0.1% at 3,283, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.40% gave up 0.1% at 9,263. JPMorgan JPM, +2.51% reported earnings that beat Wall Street forecasts. Shares of the Dow component were trading higher early Tuesday. Meanwhile, Citi C, +2.24% reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that topped expectations, while Wells Fargo WFC, -2.81% reported weaker-than-expected profit and revenue for the final three months of 2018. A number of analysts have said that the start of earnings season will momentarily overshadow U.S.-China trade discussions, with delegates from Beijing expected to sign a preliminary trade pact later this week. Gains for markets have been attributed to the detente achieved by China and the U.S. but strategists say that earnings need to improve for the market to see further gains in 2020. In economic news, consumer prices rose less than expected in December, with the Labor Department’s consumer-price index rising 0.2%, versus the 0.3% expected by economists polled by MarketWatch. The year-over increase came in at 2.3%, it’s largest yearly advance since 2011.

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