* Wells Fargo profit flat as costs, mortgages weigh
* S&P tech sector looks to snap nine-day losing streak
* Indexes down: Dow 0.33 pct, S&P 0.29 pct, Nasdaq 0.13 pct
(Updates to late afternoon)
By Lewis Krauskopf
April 13 Wall Street fell on Thursday and looked
set to book losses for a third straight day as investors weighed
earnings from big U.S. banks and geopolitical tensions.
Wells Fargo shares fell 2.4 percent, pulling down
the S&P 500, after the bank reported a drop in mortgage banking
revenue. Berkshire Hathaway also disclosed late on
Wednesday that it had cut its stake in the bank.
JPMorgan and Citigroup also slipped about 0.5
percent each, despite reporting better-than-expected quarterly
Investors have sought safe-haven assets throughout the week
due to geopolitical tensions in Syria and North Korea. News of a
massive bomb being dropped by the United States in eastern
Afghanistan on Thursday added to uncertainty.
Kate Warne, principal investment strategist at Edward Jones
in St. Louis, said a dip in bond yields put pressure on stocks
ahead of a holiday weekend in the United States.
"What we've seen is investors from the rest of the world
putting more money in U.S. Treasuries" due to geopolitical
concerns, Warne said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 67.02 points,
or 0.33 percent, to 20,524.84, the S&P 500 lost 6.78
points, or 0.29 percent, to 2,338.15 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 7.46 points, or 0.13 percent, to 5,828.70.
Bank stocks had helped drive the overall market higher after
U.S. President Donald Trump's Nov. 8 election victory, but the
rally has stalled as U.S. bond yields have declined and
investors question Trump's ability to enact his agenda including
tax cuts and economic stimulus.
The S&P 500 financial index slipped 0.7 percent,
setting it up for a fifth straight day of losses.
Energy shares were the worst-performing group,
falling 1.3 percent.
The technology sector was little changed after
nine straight sessions of losses.
Reports from banks kicked off what is expected to be a
strong first-quarter U.S. reporting season. S&P 500 companies
are expected to post a 10.4 percent rise in earnings for the
period, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"We could have double-digit earnings growth; we haven’t seen
that in some time," said Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market
strategist at Voya Investment Management in New York. "Investors
are going to be impressed with that."
A report from the University of Michigan showed that U.S.
consumer sentiment unexpectedly strengthened in April as
consumer optimism on current economic conditions climbed to its
highest level since November 2000.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a
2.01-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.77-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 7 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 25 new highs and 48 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Sinead Carew in New York and
Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and