Halliburton and Kimberly-Clark are among the companies that posted better quarterly results on Monday morning than expected. Their shares increased by 1.6% and 5.3%, respectively.
The majority of corporate profit reports have exceeded expectations so far. FactSet data shows that 76.5% of S & P 500 companies that made profits outperformed analysts' estimates. Analysts came into the season with low expectations for the season, forecasting a 4.2% decline in profits.
"Because the bar was set very low for first quarter earnings, there is a likelihood that surprises will go up," Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Baird, said in a note. "Historically, stocks have delivered the best results when earnings growth was modest compared to strong earnings growth."
The broader market also declined after the South China Morning Post reported that China's political decision-making committee seeks to stimulate structural changes to its stock market economy rather than adding a stimulus. Chinese equities plummeted overnight and the Shanghai Composite lost 1
Wall Street also focused on the oil market as US crude rose 2.2% after the Trump administration did not allow Iran's purchase of some Iranian oil. The move could take around 1 million barrels a day out of the oil market. The energy shares increased along with the oil prices. The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) was up 1%, led by Marathon Oil and Apache.
On the data front, home sales are expected for March at 10:00 (ET).
– Holly Ellyatt of CNBC contributed to this report.