Bank results fail to inspire Wall Street

A rally on Wall Street paused on Thursday following lackluster quarterly earnings from JPMorgan and Citigroup and as media stocks dropped for the second straight day.

Both JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup reported better-than-expected profits, but the financial sector was one of the worst performing groups.

Cable company Charter fell 2.6 percent and entertainment conglomerate Viacom lost 2.5 percent on reports that Viacom channels may go off the air in the NY area because of a contract dispute. Bank of America and Wells Fargo, which will report on Friday, were also lower, leading the financials index down 0.36 percent.

"But the strength in the global economy has accelerated and a weakening dollar should set up companies for very healthy beats in Q3".

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 31.88 points (0.14 per cent) to 22,841.01.

AT&T tumbled more than 4 percent after the company said its third-quarter results took a hit from the string of hurricanes and that it lost 90,000 video subscribers in the quarter.

AT&T sank 6.1 per cent as it confirmed many of its full-year financial targets, but said it expects a hit of US$210 million in pre-tax earnings in the third quarter due to United States hurricanes and earthquakes in Mexico.

That, along with a brokerage Guggenheim raising concerns over subscriber losses at Disney and Viacom, sent fresh jitters across a sector that was hit a day earlier by President Donald Trump's suggestion to challenge TV network licenses over "fake news".

The tech-focused Nasdaq index dropped 7.27 points to 6,596.28.

The three indexes still managed to eke out new intraday highs in the session on gains in technology and industrial stocks.

Ten of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower, led by a more than 2 per cent fall in the telecom services index due to AT&T's declines.

Disney dropped 1.38 percent. Viacom sank 4.28 percent after also warning that Charter Communications subscribers may lose access to its channels as the expiration looms for a distribution deal. On the Nasdaq, 1,294 issues fell and 965 advanced. Boeing's 0.5 percent rise helped the industrials. Other big decliners included Comcast, which tumbled 3.4 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,472 to 983.

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