Market Close: S&P Hits New High on a Mixed Earnings Day

Wall Street
Richard Drew/AP

NEW YORK -- The S&P 500 eked out a record high Wednesday, as investors weighed positive earnings from the technology industry against disappointing news from Boeing and other companies.

Apple's (AAPL) earnings topped Wall Street expectations, helped by rising shipments of iPhones. Microsoft (MSFT) also reported results that beat forecasts.

So far, with less than a fourth of U.S.-listed companies reporting their quarterly financial performance, results have been coming in better than expected. About 72 percent of Standard & Poor's 500 companies that have reported earnings have beaten expectations, and 73 percent have beaten sales forecasts.

"It's a little early, but things seem to be coming in OK," said Sahak Manuelian, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

Investors have become increasingly optimistic about the latest quarter. On June 30, they expected earnings to rise 4.9 percent from a year earlier. They now expect earnings to increase 5.5 percent.

The S&P 500 (^GPSC) rose 3.48 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 1,987.01, beating its previous record from July 3 by less than two points. The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 17.68 points, or 0.4 percent, to end at 4,473.70. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) bucked the trend. It fell 26.91 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,086.63, and was dragged down by Boeing (BA).

The aircraft maker slipped $3.03, or 2 percent, to $126.71, the biggest fall in the Dow, after reporting revenue that missed analysts' expectations.

The Dow is a price-weighted index that has 30 stocks, so the movement of just one company can carry extra weight. Because Boeing is one of the Dow's most expensive stocks, it has an outsized impact.

Biotechnology stocks, meanwhile, helped lift the other major indexes.

Puma Biotechnology (PBYI), a drug development company, soared after the company disclosed positive trial results for an experimental breast cancer drug. Puma rose $174.40, or 295 percent, to $233.43. Biogen Idec (BIIB) rose $33.93, or 11 percent, to $337.60 after its quarterly results came in above investors' expectations.

Unlike last week, investors were less focused on turmoil in Israel and Ukraine. However, market strategists say that with markets trading at all-time highs, any bad news could weigh on U.S. stocks.

"Geopolitical flare-ups, European bank-related market jitters, today's stretched valuations and relatively low market volatility leave [the market] vulnerable," Russ Koesterich, chief investment strategist at Blackrock, wrote in a note to investors.

In other markets, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 2.47 percent from Tuesday. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 17 cents to $104.42 a barrel.

Among significant stock moves:

• Apple rose $2.47, or 2.6 percent, to $97.19 after reporting late Tuesday that its profit rose by 12 percent in its latest quarter.

• Electronic Arts fell $2.38, or 6.2 percent, to $36.04. The video game publisher reported a 51 percent rise in earnings late Tuesday, but said it will delay the release of the latest version of its popular "Battlefield" title until 2015, missing the crucial holiday season.

What to Watch Thursday:
  • The Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • At 10 a.m., Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates, and the Commerce Department releases new home sales for June.
These major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial statements:
  • 3M (MMM)
  • Airgas (ARG)
  • Alaska Air Group (ALK)
  • (AMZN)
  • American Airlines Group (AAL)
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)
  • Canon (CAJ)
  • Caterpillar (CAT)
  • Celgene (CELG)
  • Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE)
  • D.R. Horton (DHI)
  • Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS)
  • Dunkin' Brands Group (DNKN)
  • Eli Lilly (LLY)
  • Ford Motor (F)
  • General Motors (GM)
  • Hershey (HSY)
  • Jarden (JAH)
  • JetBlue Airways (JBLU)
  • KKR (KKR)
  • Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ)
  • Nokia (NOK)
  • Pandora Media (P)
  • PulteGroup (PHM)
  • Raytheon (RTN)
  • Regal Entertainment Group (RGC)
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL)
  • Southwest Airlines (LUV)
  • Starbucks (SBUX)
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT)
  • T. Rowe Price Group (TROW)
  • Tempur Sealy International (TPX)
  • Under Armour (UA)
  • Unilever (UN)
  • Union Pacific (UNP)
  • United Continental Holdings (UAL)
  • Visa (V)
  • Wipro (WIT)
  • Wyndham Worldwide (WYN)

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Kozlowski became CEO of Tyco in '92.

I keep thinking that even if just by accident you'll eventually get something right. Hoping against all odds, I guess..

I was at TYCO in 1998 so how could I know him in 1992? They had added workers in Oct 1998 and after a serious of layoffs and sell offs then they closed the plant.

Still got my free pair of static free shoes TYCO provided.

July 23 2014 at 10:54 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

My computer/Internet Instructor at Cittone was fomerly a Memebr of a BIg Wall Street company.

However another class mate had worked on Wall ST also but this guy wasn't too bright. He couldn't tell his computer had a sound/video card. His CD's were so cheap you could barely tell which side of the disc was for the laser or the labeling! I had to turn all his stuff on for him in the dialog boxes to get them to work. Don't know how he made it on Wall Street in the first place.

July 23 2014 at 9:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I met some of the (Raytheon) people one time they were observing some work at a subcontractor that built a plant in China then spent the next couple of years cutting jobs in the NJ. The subcontractor had a plant in Mexico so it was just a matter of time before they screwed everyone!
I never got to ask them about the Patriot missle that went bonkers at during the Persian Gulf War.

July 23 2014 at 9:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Right ( NOKIA) earnings by way of job cuts at Microsoft. Some 18000 job cuts must be great for earnings.

July 23 2014 at 8:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Bristol Meyers Squib

Remember when they outsourced their manufacturing workforce in New Jersey?

I remember because some of the women bosses and floor staff ended up at Cittone for job retraining. One lady was crying so hard because she didn't have a computer at home to do the class work that was brought home. Most of the job fairs were bogus the only employers showing up were hawking their products but not having any jobs! Some employers did not even show up period. The investors must of got a bonus when those people were terminated. The tax payers got stuck with the grants offered to the unemployed.

July 23 2014 at 8:52 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Charlie Jackson

Commodities? That's where all killings take place

July 23 2014 at 5:13 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Charlie Jackson's comment

I'm sure they were cold blooded ones at that.

July 23 2014 at 9:17 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply