* Mattel among top drags on Nasdaq after
* GE weighs on S&P after reporting negative cash flow
* Oil prices on track for biggest weekly drop in a month
* First round of French election to be held on Sunday
* Indexes down: Dow 0.08 pct, S&P 0.22 pct, Nasdaq 0.08 pct
(Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal
April 21 Wall Street edged lower in early
afternoon trading on Friday as investors held off from making
risky bets ahead of the first round of the closely contested
French presidential election.
Centrist Emmanuel Macron is leading most opinion polls for
Sunday's election and is expected to contest a second-round
run-off with Marine Le Pen, head of the anti-European Union and
anti-immigrant National Front.
"Although Macron has been labeled as favorite to become the
next French President, an unexpected Marine Le Pen victory could
deal a symbolic blow to the unity of the European Union and
ultimately create a tidal wave of risk aversion," FXTM analyst
Lukman Otunuga said in a note.
After a two-week losing streak, major indexes are on track
to post weekly gains following Thursday's rally, which was
driven by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's comments that the
Trump administration would unveil a tax reform plan very soon.
A steady stream of strong earnings through the week
continued to bolster market sentiment.
Of the 95 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported
earnings through Friday morning, about 75 percent have topped
expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above the 71
percent average for the past four quarters.
Overall, profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have
risen 11.2 percent in the quarter, the best since 2011.
At 12:36 a.m. ET (1636 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 15.6 points, or 0.08 percent, at 20,563.11, the
S&P 500 was down 5.33 points, or 0.22 percent, at
2,350.51 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 4.97 points,
or 0.08 percent, at 5,911.81.
Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the
telecommunications index's 1.15 percent fall leading
Shares of General Electric fell 2.1 percent to $29.64
after the company reported negative cash flow from its
industrial operations in the first quarter. The stock was the
biggest drag on the S&P 500.
Schlumberger was down 2.9 percent at $74.31 after
the oilfield services provider warned that margins would remain
under pressure as it spends more to bring back idled equipment.
Mattel fell as much as 11.8 percent to an 18-month
low of $22.22 after the toymaker reported a bigger-than-expected
Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer told CNBC that
the central bank remains on track for two more interest rate
increases this year.
Oil prices tumbled, on track for the biggest weekly drop in
a month on renewed concerns that increasing U.S. production and
high inventories will thwart OPEC's attempts to reduce the
global crude glut.
U.S. crude futures fell below $50 per barrel for the first
time in two weeks.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,646
to 1,147. On the Nasdaq, 1,716 issues fell and 999 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 25 new 52-week highs and one new
low, while the Nasdaq recorded 66 new highs and 25 new lows.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Anil D'Silva)