Tech, bank stocks lift S&P, Nasdaq; IBM holds back Dow

  • Tech, bank stocks lift S&P, Nasdaq; IBM holds back Dow

Tech, bank stocks lift S&P, Nasdaq; IBM holds back Dow

USA stocks closed mostly lower on Wednesday with the Dow finishing at its lowest in two months as International Business Machines Corp.

IBM will have an out-sized influence on the Dow Industrials Wednesday, much like Goldman Sachs did on Tuesday, as the technology bellwether's shares dive on disappointing first-quarter results.

This earnings season, one expert opined that 77% of the S&P 500 companies that had already reported topped Wall Street estimates and 58% outperformed sales expectations.

Among energy companies, Marathon Oil dropped 4.3 percent and Newfield Exploration sank 3.5 percent. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks climbed 10 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,372 after a late gain a day earlier. The stock fell more than 5%.

Overall profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 10.7 percent in the quarter - the best since 2011.

"To me, fundamentally, I think the Toronto Stock Exchange is going to be hard pressed to move significantly higher", based on expectations for a strong US dollar, higher interest rates and lower oil prices, said Allan Small, a senior investment advisor at HollisWealth. Ford and General Motors both rose about 1 percent and Tesla gained nearly 2 percent. Carmakers and auto parts suppliers are rising, as are other consumer-focused companies.

Among the Dow industrials, IBM (IBM) was the clear laggard, dragging the industrial average into the red.

Morgan Stanley (MS) rose 2.2% on the back of better-than-expected earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/morgan-stanley-profit-rises-well-above-views-2017-04-19), which helped offset the weak read out of Goldman Sachs (MS) on Tuesday.

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 4.02 points (0.17 per cent) to 2,338.17, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 13.56 points (0.23 per cent) at 5,863.03.

The Dow edged down 33 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,488.

The S&P 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 80 new highs and 39 new lows.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.22 percent.

Canada's main stock index fell on Wednesday as sliding oil prices weighed on energy stocks, while solid earnings boosted Rogers Communications Inc.

USA data showed a counter-seasonal build in gasoline inventories and a smaller-than-expected decline in overall crude stocks and sent USA crude below the US$52 a barrel mark for the first time in two weeks. That hurt high-dividend payers including utilities and household goods companies. Higher yields allow banks to charge higher interest rates on loans. Public Service Enterprise Group shed 92 cents, or 2 percent, to $44.42 and beauty products retailer Coty surrendered 35 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $18.06. Half of the blue-chip index's losses came from IBM, which reported weaker-than-expected sales in the first quarter.

The UK's FTSE 100 Index slid 0.5 percent.

The Nasdaq composite increased 30 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,880.

BONDS: Bond prices fell, reversing gains from a day earlier.

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