The benchmark gauge of American equities fluctuated near 3,000 as traders assessed a raft of corporate earnings against the backdrop of a global economic slowdown. Treasuries rose. The pound declined.

An early rally in the S&P 500 Index lost momentum after the measure approached its all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as 3M Co.’s results showed the downturn continued to hobble the manufacturer. Twitter Inc. tumbled on a disappointing forecast. Microsoft Corp. jumped after earnings beat expectations, while a positive outlook from Lam Research Corp. spurred a surge in chipmakers. Tesla Inc. soared after posting a surprise profit.

Investors also watched the latest developments in the ongoing trade dispute. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence criticized China’s actions against protesters in Hong Kong while calling for greater engagement between the world’s two biggest economies. The Asian nation aims to buy at least $20 billion of agricultural products in a year if it signs a partial trade deal, people familiar with the matter said.

Elsewhere, the pound fell on news that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will seek a general election on Dec. 12 -- setting up a national vote on his Brexit strategy. The European Central Bank kept monetary stimulus unchanged in the final meeting of Mario Draghi’s presidency.

More on earnings:

  • PayPal Holdings Inc. reported earnings that beat estimates, sparking a stock rally.
  • Comcast Corp.’s profit topped forecasts amid an increase in internet subscribers.
  • Ford Motor Co. slumped after the company cut its full-year forecast by $500 million.
  • EBay Inc. slipped after giving a revenue forecast that fell short of analysts’ estimates.
  • Xilinx Inc.’s outlook trailed expectations, in part because of the blacklist against Huawei Technologies Co.

After the close of regular trading, Inc., Intel Corp. and Visa Inc. are due to report results.

“There is some nervousness that is good enough to avoid any signs within the broad market of irrational exuberance or animal spirits,” said John Stoltzfus, the chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer & Co. “Overall, the story is reflecting a watch-and-wait kind of scenario as investors and traders really absorb the news coming across on earnings.”

With the earnings season, investors are getting numerous chances to see how corporations are withstanding the effects of trade tension, slowing growth and Brexit. Two key measures of U.S. business investment posted declines that were worse than analysts expected in September. Other data indicated consumers are still healthy enough to keep spending and driving growth.

“For the most part, the forward guidance has not been as negative as some had expected,” said Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA. “Not a stellar earnings season so far, but nothing to really scare investors about an upcoming recession.”

These are some of the main moves in markets:

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