July 29, 2019 / 3:37 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St eases from record highs as tech drags; Fed meeting eyed

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* Fed policy meeting to start on Tuesday

* Mylan to combine with Pfizer’s generic unit

* Dow up 0.22%, S&P 500 off 0.22%, Nasdaq down 0.74% (Updates prices, comments)

By Shreyashi Sanyal

July 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks retreated from record highs on Monday, weighed by technology shares ahead of high profile earnings including that of Apple, which will test the impact of trade tensions on global growth, ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting meeting.

The S&P 500 technology sector, the index’s best performer so far this year, dropped 0.37%. However, a rise in shares of Apple Inc, ahead of its quarterly report after markets close on Tuesday, helped support the blue-chip Dow Industrials index.

“Today is the day that people will take risk off the table, so they can be flatter heading into the Fed meeting,” Michael Antonelli, market strategist at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee, said.

The S&P 500 index has risen 2.7% this month on hopes that the Fed would take a more dovish approach to counter the impact of a protracted U.S.-China trade war, which has helped Wall Street’s main indexes scale record levels this month.

But the market’s recovery from a torrid month of trading in May have also been dependent on other indicators like earnings not being so robust as to make the U.S. central bank hold fire.

Data from Refinitiv shows 76% of the 222 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far have topped profit estimates, but reports on the U.S. economy went in the opposite direction, supporting action by the Fed.

A quarter point cut to bolster the amount of capital coursing through financial markets and support borrowing by ordinary Americans is fully priced in for Wednesday and it will be policymakers’ comments on what next would define whether a rally since May continues.

Fed’s rate-setting committee will release its policy statement at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) on Wednesday after the end of a two-day meeting and Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a press conference shortly after.

Antonelli said investors will watch Powell’s speech for clues on whether it is just an insurance cut or the start of a tightening cycle.

Among other stocks, Mylan NV jumped 8.36% after it confirmed reports over the weekend that it was combining with Pfizer Inc’s off-patent branded and generic established medicines business to form a new global player.

Pfizer fell 2.29% after the drugmaker cut its full-year profit and revenue forecast in an unexpected release of its quarterly results to go with the deal announcement.

At 11:09 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 61.11 points, or 0.22%, at 27,253.56, the S&P 500 was down 6.58 points, or 0.22%, at 3,019.28.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 62.05 points, or 0.74%, at 8,268.17. Weighing on the tech-heavy index were declines in shares of heavyweights Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp.

Among other decliners, the communication services sector fell 0.77% following a 3% surge on Friday owing to upbeat results from Google-parent Alphabet Inc.

Defensive real estate and consumer staples sectors were among the few trading in positive territory.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.30-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.64-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 27 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 46 new highs and 76 new lows. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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