US Stock Indexes Tread Water Wednesday 01/29 09:30
Stocks gave up an early gain Wednesday and were treading water in
mid-morning trading. The market had gotten off to a strong start following
strong earnings from several big companies.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks gave up an early gain Wednesday and were treading
water in mid-morning trading. The market had gotten off to a strong start
following strong earnings from several big companies.
Homebuilders slumped following a report that Americans pulled back on
signing contracts to buy homes last month. Health care stocks were also broadly
lower after health insurer Anthem delivered a weak earnings forecast.
Apple rose after reporting solid profit gains, and industrial stocks also
rose. Boeing rose 2.8% and railroads climbed on a good report from Norfolk
Southern. General Electric surged 8.2% after a strong showing from its aviation
business pushed profits above expectations.
Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands soared following a report that its
long-serving CEO might leave.
Wall Street is in the middle of a busy week for corporate earnings.
Facebook, Microsoft and Tesla will release earnings later Wednesday. Coca-Cola,
UPS, Amazon and Visa will report results on Thursday. Caterpillar and Exxon
Mobil will report results on Friday.
The deadly coronavirus is still a potential threat to the global economy,
but Wall Street has managed to set aside those concerns, for now. The lockdown
in China has trapped more than 50 million people in the most far-reaching
disease control measures ever imposed. The outbreak has infected more than
6,000 on the mainland and abroad.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index edged up 0.1% as of 10:23 a.m. Eastern
time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 70 points, or 0.2%, to 28,792. It
was up as much as 221 earlier. The Nasdaq was little changed. The Russell 2000
index of smaller company stocks fell 0.2%.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.61%.
European markets rose and Asian markets were mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng
fell 2.8% after its markets reopened from Lunar New Year holidays, while other
Chinese markets remained closed.
FRESH SCENT: L Brands skyrocketed 13.2% following reports that the owner of
Bath & Body Works and Victoria's Secret could change leadership and sell off
some of its parts. The Wall Street Journal reported that Leslie Wexner, who has
served as CEO for more than five decades, is in talks to step down. It also
said the company is considering a full or partial sale of its lingerie business.
HOLIDAY CRISP: Apple rose 2% after a strong holiday season helped propel
profits beyond Wall Street forecasts. The iPhone maker's surprisingly good
report marks a turnaround from a year ago when sales of its marquee product
appeared to be sliding. The company is also seeing gains in sales of
smartwatches, digital services and wireless earbuds.
ON TRACK: Norfolk Southern climbed 6.9% after the railroad reported
surprisingly good fourth-quarter profits on cost cuts. The railroad industry
has been experiencing weak demand for freight hauling and the company is trying
to operate on a tighter schedule and move more freight with fewer people.
Union Pacific rose 2.1% and CSX climbed 1.9%.