NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks pulled back moderately in midday trading on Wall Street Thursday as investors hit the pause button following a record-setting streak. Several companies including Intel and Southwest Airlines reported earnings that disappointed investors. Industrial and materials companies had some of the biggest declines.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,168 as of 12:08 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 62, or 0.3 percent, to 18,532. The Nasdaq composite gave up 7, or 0.2 percent, to 5,082. The S&P 500 and the Dow set all-time highs a day earlier, and the Dow marked its ninth consecutive day of gains.
OVERSEAS: European markets were mixed. France’s CAC 40 index slipped 0.1 percent, Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.4 percent and Germany’s DAX edged up 0.1 percent. The European Central Bank left all its interest rates at record lows, but its head said that it could add further stimulus as it gets a better sense of the effects of the United Kingdom’s recent vote to leave the European Union.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.8 percent, and South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.2 percent.
HOW MUCH HIGHER? Stocks have climbed steadily upward since hitting a bottom nearly a month ago, aided by better-than-expected reports on corporate earnings and the U.S. economy. But while the data has often topped analysts’ forecasts, they still haven’t been all that strong. Corporate earnings likely weakened last quarter, for example, and the U.S. economy is still growing at a weaker rate than before the Great Recession. That could keep stocks hemmed in, says Rich Weiss, senior portfolio manager at American Century.
“It’s a confounding market,” he said. “This is a case where the U.S. stock market is the only place to go. It’s the best relative purchase out of markets.”
Even though stock prices may look expensive relative to how much profit companies are earning, Weiss said U.S. stocks can stay high because foreign stocks and bonds look even less attractive.
REVVED UP: General Motors rose 76 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $32.25 after reporting that its profit last quarter more than doubled from a year ago. The company also raised its earnings forecast for the year.
FULLY EQUIPPED: United Rentals surged $6.83, or 9.8 percent, to $76.69. after reporting better quarterly results than expected. It was the second-best performing stock in the S&P 500.
BOUGHT: EBay jumped $3.21, or 11.9 percent, to $30.20 after reporting stronger-than-expected earnings for the latest quarter. It was the biggest gain in the S&P 500.
SOLD: Southwest Airlines fell $3.62, or 8.6 percent, to $38.41 after reporting revenue and earnings growth that fell short of analysts’ expectations. It had the biggest decline in the S&P 500.
CHIPPED: Intel fell $1.49, or 4.2 percent, to $34.19 after the chipmaker reported slower revenue growth last quarter than analysts expected.
COMMODITIES: The price of U.S. crude oil fell 78 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $44.95 a barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 71 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $46.45 a barrel in London. Gold rose $9.40, or 0.7 percent, to $1,328 an ounce.
BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 1.57 percent from 1.58 percent a day earlier. The dollar fell to 106.03 Japanese yen from 106.87 yen late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1011 from $1.1005.