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Wall Street drifts lower as earnings news fails to drive tech stocks

Wall Street drifts lower as earnings news fails to drive tech stocks

Stocks drifted lower Thursday after strong profit reports from several big technology names failed to sustain investor enthusiasm for the sector a day after tech issues posted sharp gains.
Investors' cheer over quarterly reports from eBay Inc., Nokia Corp., AT&T Inc. didn't translate to broader gains. Even news on the housing sector, often a catalyst of market moves, did little to dent a wait-and-see mood in the stock market, though the bond market slipped.
"We've had a nice move," said Chris Hensen, portfolio manager for U.S. equities at MFC Global Investment Management. He contends the latest earnings and economic news wasn't important enough to drive the market higher a day after the major indexes put up robust gains. Instead, Wall Street appeared to be idly kicking the dirt, waiting for further signals.
"They want to see the remainder of the company guidance," he said. About half of the companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 have yet to report fourth-quarter results.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 51.11, or 0.40 percent, at 12,570.66.
Broader stock indicators also fell. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 8.21, or 0.57 percent, at 1,431.92 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 17.18, or 0.70 percent, at 2,449.10. On Wednesday, the Nasdaq rose well over 1 percent and the Dow set record trading and closing highs.
Bonds fell ahead of a planned auction of 5-year Treasury notes and in response to news of a drop in the number of unsold homes last month. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note jumped to 4.85 percent from 4.81 percent late Wednesday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.
Light, sweet crude fell 53 cents to $54.84 per barrel on the New York Stock Exchange. Investors halted recent sharp drops after growing more confident OPEC production cuts would occur.
In economic news, the National Association of Realtors said sales of U.S. existing homes fell 0.8 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.22 million. The inventory of existing homes available for sale fell 7.9 percent to 3.51 million. Investors have wondered for months whether the housing sector and the broader economy could share a similar fate; that is, if a pullback in the housing market would drag down the rest of the economy. Though that concern has eased in recent months, housing data still draws investor attention.
With the deluge of earnings reports commanding the most attention, investors seemed to shrug off a Labor Department report that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits last week surged by the largest amount in 16 months, reversing two weeks of large declines.
In corporate news, eBay jumped $2.88, or 9.6 percent, to $32.88 after the online auction house posted a 24 percent increase in profits as sales rose 29 percent.
Ford Motor Co. rose 10 cents to $8.30 even though the automaker reported its largest annual loss as sales fell and the company struggled with enormous restructuring costs. Investors had been expecting a weak showing and appeared relieved the report wasn't worse.
AT&T rose 26 cents to $36.89 after company's fourth-quarter profit rose 17 percent amid growth in wireless subscribers and in its regional wireline businesses.
Nokia, the mobile phone maker, rose 79 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $21 after the company's fourth-quarter profit rose 19 percent as sales rose.
Lockheed Martin Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings rose 28 percent as the defense contractor saw growth in areas like its military hardware business. The company, which raised its full-year profit forecast, rose 81 cents to $97.95.


Updated : 2021-06-16 07:41 GMT+08:00