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US stocks fall as investors digest first round of earnings

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks fell in early trading on Tuesday as investors digested the first significant round of fourth-quarter corporate earnings reports.

Major banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, reported surprisingly good earnings, though Wells Fargo disappointed investors. The financial sector held up better than most in the early going.

Nearly every other sector fell as a cautious mood replaced the previous day’s record-setting rally driven by optimism that trade relations between the U.S. and China could be improving.

Technology stocks led the decline. Chipmaker Nvidia fell 1.3%.

Health care companies were among the biggest losers. Boston Scientific fell 6.4% after giving Wall Street a weak fourth-quarter sales update.

Utilities also held up well as investors shifted money into the safe-play sector. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.82% from 1.84% late Monday.

Wall Street is facing a busy week. Several other big companies will report their earnings including UnitedHealth Group and Bank of America on Wednesday. The world’s largest economies are also set to sign a “Phase 1” deal on Wednesday and have taken measures to tone down their conflict. The U.S., notably, has dropped its designation of China as a currency manipulator in advance of the signing.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 0.2% as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 12 points, or less than 0.1%, to 28,919. The Nasdaq fell 0.3%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks fell 0.3%. Asian markets were mixed and markets in Europe climbed.

TRADING UP: JPMorgan Chase rose 1.9% after the banking giant reported a surge in profits because of a blowout quarter from its trading desks. The earnings handily beat analysts’ forecasts. Citigroup climbed 2% after reporting a similar jump in profits because of its trading operations.

Wells Fargo did not fare as well and fell 3.1% as its profit and revenue dropped because of hefty costs and lower interest rates. The bank is is still under growth restrictions by regulators after years of missteps, beginning in 2016 with the uncovering of millions of fake checking accounts its employees opened to meet sales quotas.

TAKEOFF: Delta Air Lines rose 4.1% after the company boosted its fourth-quarter to $1.1 billion by adding more flights over the holiday period and packing them even more full of passengers. The results beat Wall Street’s earnings forecasts.

The solid earnings report helped lift some of the company’s rivals. United Airlines rose 1.9% and American Airlines gained 1.5%.

DONNING PLAID: Payments processor Visa rose rose slightly after announcing that it would buy the financial technology company Plaid for $5.3 billion. The company allows users to link their bank accounts to financial services apps like Venmo. The deal represents a major push by Visa into other types of money transfer systems.

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