New York: US stocks held near the unchanged mark on Wednesday as concerns about global economic growth and a drop in Boeing shares offset strong bank results and gains in technology stocks.
Goldman Sachs shares hit their highest level since 31 May 2011 as earnings nearly tripled on increased revenue from dealmaking and lower compensation expenses, while JPMorgan Chase said fourth-quarter net income jumped 53% and earnings for 2012 set a record.
JPMorgan shares edged up 0.2% at $46.44 and Goldman was up 3.5% to $140.27. The KBW bank index gained 0.3%.
But with only 37 companies in the S&P 500 having reported earnings so far this season, investors are exercising caution until signs of growth can emerge.
According to Thomson Reuters data, S&P 500 earnings growth is now seen up 2.2% from a year ago, Thomson Reuters data showed.
“We didn’t have much in the way of earnings, we had some of the big banks, but you’ve got the heart of earnings season coming up and people are sort of on the sidelines here,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.
A slow economic recovery in developed nations is holding back the global economy, the World Bank said on Tuesday, as it sharply scaled back its forecast for world growth in 2013 to 2.4% from an earlier forecast of 3.0%.
Shares of Dow component Boeing fell 3.3% to $74.39, the biggest drag on the Dow, on concerns about its new Dreamliner passenger jets. Japan’s two leading airlines grounded their fleets of 787s after an emergency landing, adding to safety concerns triggered by a series of recent incidents.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 35.95 points, or 0.27%, to 13,498.94. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index shed 1.60 points, or 0.11%, to 1,470.74. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.91 points, or 0.09%, to 3,113.68.
Losses were curbed on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq moved higher on a bounce in Apple shares, which were up 3.6% at $503.31 after losses in three straight sessions. Morgan Stanley stamped the tech giant as a “best idea,” citing overblown concerns about iPhone shipments. The S&P technology sector index gained 0.5%.
“Apple rebounding certainly helps the market - if Apple wasn’t rebounding I don’t think we would be at a flat level,” said Ghriskey.
Talks to take Dell Inc private were at an advanced stage, with at least four major banks lined up to provide financing, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Shares fell 4.6% to $12.57 after jumping more than 21% over the past two sessions.
US consumer prices were flat in December, pointing to muted inflation pressures that should give the Federal Reserve room to prop up the economy by staying on its ultra-easy monetary policy path.
Other data showed US homebuilder confidence in the market for single family homes held steady near seven year highs in January, suggesting the outlook for the housing market remained upbeat. REUTERS