Dow hot streak over? Stocks sag toward closing bell

October 14 08:52 2015

The Dow inched back into positive territory as it looks to extend its winning streak to eight sessions despite fresh data showing China’s economy is slowing and investor angst ahead of the third-quarter earnings season. Despite drugmaker Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), one of the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average, topping earnings per share forecasts before the opening bell on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average and other major U.S. stock indexes have traded near the flatline today. The culprit appears to be weak economic data out of China, which saw its exports dip 3.7% in September.USA - Business - Dow Jones Sign

The Dow, which opened lower, was up 20 points, or 0.1%, at about 12:45 p.m. ET. The Dow, which is riding a seven-day win streak, is looking to extend that streak to eight today, which would mark its longest winning streak since a 10-day uptrend back in March 2013. The Standard & Poor’s 500 was flat and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.1%. J&J shares were down 0.8% to $95.26 after its earnings release, as revenue came in a tad light.

The latest news out of China reaffirms fears of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy and again has investors wondering whether the slowdown in Asia will dent business activity in the United States and Europe as well. “The concern of the market is how much of the global economic malaise will impact earnings,” Patrick Adams, a money manager at Choice Investment Management told clients in a note.

Still, Wall Street is mainly focused this week on the third-quarter earnings season. After today’s closing bell, two more Dow components — banking giant JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and chip maker Intel (INTC) — are set to report. Wall Street is bracing for what could be the first negative quarter for corporate profits since the financial crisis back in 2009. Heading into today’s trading session, profit for the S&P 500 was forecast to contract 4.8%.