Stocks little changed as investors assess earnings

4:29 PM, Jan 22, 2014   |    comments
Traders gather at a post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Aug. 27, 2013. (Photo: Richard Drew, AP)
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NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks were little changed Wednesday as investors pored over the latest batch of company earnings reports. IBM dropped after its revenue fell short of what analysts were expecting. Luxury goods maker Coach slumped after reporting a lower quarterly profit.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 rose one point to 1,845 as of 3:20 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 34 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,370. The Nasdaq composite gained 16 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,242. About three stocks rose for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

BIG BLUES: IBM fell $6.69, or 3.6 percent, to $181.75 after the computing company reported lower-than-expected revenue in the fourth quarter. Revenue fell 5.5 percent, hurt by a drop at IBM's hardware business. Profit rose 6 percent and adjusted earnings beat Wall Street predictions.

HANDBAGS: Coach fell $3.71, or 7.1 percent, to $48.83 after the luxury goods maker reported a lower quarterly profit, citing weakness in women's bags and accessories in North America. Coach is facing tough competition from rivals like Michael Kors Holdings.

EARLY TRENDS: There are lots of companies that have yet to release their quarterly earnings, but so far the stock market has failed to get a lift from the reports that have come out. After big gains for stocks last year, in which the S&P 500 climbed nearly 30 percent, investors want to see evidence that companies can increase their earnings through revenue growth rather than cutting expenses.

"It's all about (revenue) outlooks, clearly that's what matters," said Ryan Detrick, a senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. "It doesn't seem like there's been much to get excited about."

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL: Much like last year, small companies are again outperforming their larger counterparts. While the S&P 500 has moved sideways since the start of year, and is down 0.3 percent this month, the Russell 2000, an index that tracks smaller companies is up 1.4 percent. The Nasdaq composite is up 1.6 percent.

THE CHIPS FALL: Advanced Micro Devices plunged 49 cents, or 11.8 percent, to $3.69 after the company said late Tuesday that it expected its first-quarter revenue to fall 13 percent to 19 percent from the fourth quarter. That would translate into first-quarter revenue ranging from $1.29 billion to $1.38 billion, mostly below Wall Street's predictions.

AMONG THE GAINERS: TE Connectivity jumped $3.72 or 6.6 percent, to $60.01 after the electronics company reported earnings that beat analysts' expectations and posted a strong earnings outlook for the second quarter. Norfolk Southern climbed $4.05, or 4.6 percent, to $92.77 after the rail company said its fourth-quarter profit rose 24 percent.

DEMANDING MORE: Apple climbed $2.85, or 0.5 percent, to $551.96. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said on his Twitter account that he had increased his investment to more than $3 billion on Tuesday after buying more than $500 million in Apple stock. Icahn wants Apple to "markedly" increase its share buybacks and said the technology company is doing investors a disservice by not doing so.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.86 percent from 2.83 percent late Tuesday. The price of oil rose $1.76, or 1.9 percent, to $96.73 a barrel. Gold fell $3.20, or 0.3 percent, to $1,238.60 an ounce.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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