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Wall Street falls as railroads slide after CSX signals trade impact

(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes retreated for the second day on Wednesday as weak results from CSX Corp pressured railroad stocks and highlighted the wide-ranging impact of the protracted trade war between the United States and China.

Shares of CSX (CSX.O) tumbled 10.7% and were set for their biggest one-day drop in nearly 17 years, after the company posted lower-than-expected quarterly profit and cut its full-year revenue forecast.

Rival Union Pacific Corp (UNP.N) slipped 5.7%, weighing heavily on the benchmark S&P 500 while Kansas City Southern (KSU.N) fell 4.4%. Both companies will report results this week.

Losses in CSX also pushed the Dow Jones Transport Average .DJT down 3.15%. The S&P 500 industrials .SPLRCI, with a 1.62% decline, was the top loser among the 11 main sectors.

Since a sharp fall in May, Wall Street’s main indexes have trended higher to hit record highs on hopes that the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates at its policy meeting at the end of this month.

The market’s recent run-up on optimism around a Fed rate cut is likely why there is somewhat of a breather now, said Barry James, chief investment officer of advisory firm James Investment Research in Alpha, Ohio, adding that trade tensions remained an overhang.

“There’s still a lot of risk in the market, like massive amounts going into passive rather than active managers and valuations being elevated, so we could run into potholes as we did back in December and May,” James said.

At 12:29 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 56.40 points, or 0.21%, at 27,279.23, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 8.78 points, or 0.29%, at 2,995.26. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 8.45 points, or 0.10%, at 8,214.35.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) rose 3.7% after the medical device maker topped quarterly profit estimates and lifted its full-year adjusted earnings forecast.

Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) rose 1.6% after posting a profit beat, but the lender lowered its annual net interest income forecast.

This follows similar warning signs from JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N) and Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), which reported a dip in margins and stoked fears of interest rate cuts pressuring profit.

Profit for S&P 500 companies is expected to rise 0.4% in the second quarter from a year ago, according to Refinitiv IBES data. Of the 43 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported so far, 83.7% have beaten analysts’ estimates.

Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) rose 1% after the U.S. Justice Department asked a federal appeals court to pause the enforcement of a sweeping antitrust ruling against the mobile chip supplier.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor index .SOX rose 0.49%, also helped by strong quarterly profit from Dutch chip equipment maker ASML Holding NV (ASML.AS) (ASML.O).

FAANG member Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and blue-chip technology company International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) were marginally lower ahead of their results due after the bell.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.47-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.39-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 24 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 45 new highs and 71 new lows.

Reporting by Medha Singh and Uday Sampath Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Shounak Dasgupta