October 18, 2018 / 3:56 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Wall St hit by weak industrial earnings, hawkish Fed

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* Textron, Sealed Air top decliners on S&P after results

* Eight of 11 major S&P sectors lower led by industrials

* FOMC minutes show all policy-makers back rate hike

* Indexes down: Dow 0.91 pct, S&P 0.92 pct, Nasdaq 1.44 pct (Changes comment, adds details, updates prices)

By Medha Singh

Oct 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Thursday as weak earnings reports from industrials raised worries about rising expenses and the impact of tariffs, adding to concerns over higher borrowing costs after hawkish commentary in the Federal Reserve’s minutes.

The U.S.-China trade war, higher rising borrowing costs and wage pressures have been the main concern of investors as the third-quarter earnings season gains steam, and contributed to last week’s selloff.

Those fears were manifested in Sealed Air’s results. The packaging company fell 6.5 percent after cutting its full-year profit outlook due to higher raw material and freight costs.

Results from Cessna business jet-maker Textron, equipment renter United Rentals and hand tools maker Snap-on Inc, which slid between 2.33 percent and 9.23 percent, only served to show corporate profit has little room to grow.

Profits at S&P 500 companies are expected to have risen 22 percent in the third quarter, slower than the previous two quarters, according to I/B/E/S Refinitiv. Of the 69 firms that have reported so far, 78.3 percent have beaten expectations.

Large industrials such as Caterpillar and 3M fell between 1 percent and 2.5 percent and helped pull the sector down 1.1 percent.

Defense companies such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon were hit by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pulling out of next week’s investment conference in Saudi Arabia.

Defense contractors fear that lawmakers angered by the disappearance of a Saudi journalist in Turkey will block further arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

The minutes of the Fed’s September meeting, released on Wednesday, showed policy makers broadly agreed on the need to raise interest rates further. That sent yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury notes back to multi-year highs from last week, which contributed to the sell off in equities.

“The market is a little bit on edge as they digest earnings, rising rates and minutes from the Fed meeting. There is some spill over in volatility from last week,” said Paul Brigandi, managing director and head of trading at Direxion in New York.

“There are lingering concerns from last week’s drop and what that means. The sharp rise in rate and tariffs are on everybody’s minds now.”

At 11:34 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 233.97 points, or 0.91 percent, at 25,472.71, the S&P 500 was down 25.83 points, or 0.92 percent, at 2,783.38 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 110.23 points, or 1.44 percent, at 7,532.48.

The small-cap Russell 200 index, which is less immune to trade tensions than its larger peers but just as likely to be hit by rising costs, was down 1.13 percent, or 18.03 points at 1,571.57.

The defensive utilities, consumer staples and real estates were the biggest gainers among the 11 major S&P sectors.

Activision dropped 7.3 percent after its new “Call of Duty” videogame raked in over $500 million in its first three days of sales, lower than investor expectations.

Philip Morris rose 3.7 percent after the Marlboro cigarette maker topped analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit and sales. Altria rose 1.5 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.16-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 2.47-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded five new 52-week highs and 18 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 11 new highs and 61 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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