The S&P 500 edged higher for its third straight day of gains, lifted by signs of strength in the housing market, but gains were limited by weak tech company results. Both Intel and IBM tumbled a day after reporting results, keeping the Dow in negative territory. IBM alone dragged down the blue chip average by 66 points.
“These are some fairly big disappointments, and while we think we’ll see better results out of tech, it’s clear the market doesn’t think we’ll see much growth in names like Intel or IBM,” said Richard Sichel, who oversees $1.8 billion as chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 6.38 points, or 0.05 percent, at 13,545.40. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 4.62 points, or 0.32 percent, at 1,459.54. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 5.58 points, or 0.18 percent, at 3,106.75.
** INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP, $201.74, down 4.4 pct (0945 ET)
The tech giant’s quarterly revenue missed analysts’ expectations while earnings was barely a beat as customers put off spending on big-ticket items and a stronger dollar hit the company’s top line.
The company’s fifth consecutive quarterly revenue miss prompted at least two brokerages to cut their ratings on its stock.
** INTEL CORP, $21.70, down 3 pct (0945 ET)
Brokerages cut their outlooks on the stock by as much as 20 percent after the chipmaker, facing depressed demand for PCs, forecast a weak fourth quarter.
** EMC CORP, $25.79, down 2 pct (1034 ET)
** VMWARE INC, $88.32, down 2.6 pct (1034 ET)
The poor show by the tech bellwethers dragged down the stocks of data storage equipment maker and its software unit VMware.
The choppiness across the sector was making investors jittery, as EMC and VMware prepare to report results next week, analysts said. “Some of the weakness (in shares) is misguided,” FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said.
** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, $9.40, up 0.6 pct (0942 ET)
The No. 2 U.S. bank by assets, reported a slim third-quarter profit as a legal settlement and other previously disclosed charges dented its bottom line.
** KB HOME, $16.53, up 7.23 pct (1055 ET)
** TOLL BROTHERS INC, $35.15, up 3.90 pct (1055 ET)
** DR HORTON INC, $21.62, up 4.54 pct (1055 ET)
** LENNAR CORP, $38.51, 3.17 pct (1055 ET)
Groundbreaking on new U.S. homes surged in September to its fastest pace in more than four years, with housing starts increasing 15 percent last month. The Standard & Poor’s homebuilder index rose a 4.52 percent.
** APOLLO GROUP INC, $22.82, down 17 pct (0947 ET)
The owner of the largest for-profit college in the United States said it will cut about 800 jobs and shut down 25 campuses to save costs amid declining profit and lower student enrollments.
** CYMER INC, $76.00, up 59 pct (0944 ET)
The world’s leading microchip gear maker ASML Holding NV will buy the U.S. group - its key supplier of a light-based technology crucial to making a new generation of much smaller chips - for 1.95 billion euros ($2.5 billion).
** SATCON TECHNOLOGY CORP, $0.09, down 73 pct (0943 ET)
The solar inverter maker filed for bankruptcy protection hurt by a drop in solar subsidies in key markets, including Germany, which has hit solar groups around the world and led to a string of insolvency filings.
** PEREGRINE PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $0.89, up 27 pct (0944 ET)
The biopharmaceutical company said it raised $14.3 million in funding, which will be sufficient to complete its clinical and development goals through the third quarter of 2013.
The funds were raised at an average price of 93 cents per share.
** DEAN FOODS CO, $16.30, up 8.3 pct (0950 ET)
Whitewave Foods Co, a unit of top U.S. dairy company Dean Foods, said it plans to raise up to $320 million in an initial public offering.
** AO SMITH CORP, $58.62, up 4.67 pct (0949 ET)
The water heater maker posted third-quarter earnings that beat expectations and raised its full-year outlook, as sales continued to grow in China.
** M&T BANK CORP, $101.99, up 4.7 pct (1011 ET)
The regional bank’s third-quarter profit jumped 60 percent, helped by higher mortgage banking revenue.
** OLD REPUBLIC INTERNATIONAL CORP, $10.57, up 4.8 pct (1013 ET)
Raymond James raised the mortgage and title insurer to “outperform” from “market perform,” saying the corrective plan for the company’s troubled flagship mortgage insurance unit would likely be approved and that the unit would avoid receivership or liquidation.
** INTERMUNE INC, $8.55, up 7.2 pct (1014 ET)
The company said it plans to launch its lung drug Esbriet in France in latter half of November after the nation’s government confirmed the official price of reimbursing the drug by publishing it in its official journal.
** PIPER JAFFRAY CO, $29.32, up 10.5 pct (1021 ET)
The investment bank’s third-quarter earnings were well ahead of analysts’ expectations on a strong performance from its institutional brokerage division.
** PINNACLE FINANCIAL PARTNERS INC, $20.45, up 11.4 pct (1026 ET)
Raymond James raised the company to “outperform” from “market perform” after the lender reported an estimate-topping third-quarter profit and growth would likely accelerate over the next two to three years.
** CATHAY GENERAL BANCORP, $18.57, up 9.7 pct (1028 ET)
Sandler O’Neill raised the Los Angeles-based bank to “buy” from “hold,” saying Cathay General’s rising capital levels would position it to raise its dividend and begin buying back shares in 2013. Sandler raised its 12-month price target on the community bank by $3 to $21.
** BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON CORP, $24.30, up 3.1 pct (0945 ET)
The world’s largest custody bank’s third-quarter earnings rose 11 percent, beating analysts’ expectations, as it got a lift from rising fees for managing money and investment services.
** HALLIBURTON COMPANY, $34.14, down 1.2 pct (0946 ET)
The world’s second-largest oilfield services company’s third-quarter profit fell in line with analysts estimates due to the high cost of a key drilling material and a slowdown in North American drilling activity because of low natural gas prices.
** PEPSICO INC, $70.69, down 0.5 pct (0946 ET)
The maker of Diet Pepsi, Frito-Lay snacks and Tropicana orange juice reported lower quarterly earnings, after the stronger U.S. dollar hurt revenue.
** PFIZER INC, $25.84, up 0.2 pct (0946 ET)
The company said its kidney cancer drug did not meet the main goal of showing a statistically significant improvement in survival in a late-stage trial without the cancer getting worse.
** AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY, $58.92, up 0.5 pct (0947 ET)
The company, which had mixed results expanding beyond its more affluent core of cardholders, will report third-quarter results on Wednesday morning.
** FORTINET INC, $20.30, down 18 pct (0947 ET)
** SOURCEFIRE INC, $45, down 5.5 pct, (1006 ET)
Network security products maker Fortinet cut its full-year forecast, hurt by weak demand in southern Europe and slow growth in China.
The warning also dragged down shares of peer Sourcefire, said Stifel Nicolaus analyst Todd Weller.
** CREE INC, $28.68, up 9.5 pct (0948 ET)
Canaccord Genuity raised its price target on the semiconductor material maker’s stock to $38 from $34, saying it expects the company to expand its gross margins in the near to medium term.
** LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORP, $32.08, down 1.4 pct (0949 ET)
The chipmaker posted first-quarter revenue modestly above Wall Street estimates and forecast current-quarter revenue to fall between 5 and 10 pct on a sequential basis.
Piper Jaffray & Co cut its price target on the stock to $35 from $39.
** C.H. ROBINSON WORLDWIDE, $62.12, up 2 pct (0950 ET)
The company said it would sell its payment processing business unit, T-Chek, to privately held peer Electronic Funds Source LLC for $302.5 million to help fund its planned purchase of freight forwarder Phoenix International.
** HCP INC, $44.65, down 2.8 pct (0951 ET)
The company said it will buy 133 senior housing communities for $1.73 billion, including debt, from a joint venture between Emeritus Corp and Blackstone Real Estate Partners VI as an aging U.S. population lifts demand for retirement villages.
** POTASH CORP , $41.70, up 0.3 pct (0951 ET)
The world’s largest fertilizer maker said its earnings for the full year will be below the low end of its previous forecast range due to delays in new contracts with buyers in China and India.
** STANLEY BLACK & DECKER INC, $68.85, down 4.8 pct (0952 ET)
The tool maker reported a lower third-quarter profit, hurt by a decline in margins, and cut its full-year earnings outlook.
** KNIGHT CAPITAL GROUP INC, $2.50, up 2.9 pct (0952 ET)
The company reported a third-quarter net loss of $389.9 million, largely due to a glitch on Aug. 1 that forced the electronic trader to take on additional investors to avoid bankruptcy.
** EBAY INC, $48.22, up 0.1 pct (0952 ET)
The company’s third-quarter results later on Wednesday will likely show strong growth for its online marketplace business.
** EXLSERVICE HOLDINGS INC, $29.33, down 1.3 pct (0953 ET)
Robert W. Baird & Co cut the company’s stock to “neutral” rating.
** SONIC CORP, $9.99, up 3 pct (0954 ET)
The drive-in restaurant chains’ shares rose after the company reported better-than-expected results on Tuesday, helped by a rise in franchise drive-ins at its burger joints coupled with an increase in franchise royalties and fees.
** MURPHY OIL, $63.00, down 1.2 pct (0954 ET)
Barclays Capital cut the company’s stock to “equal weight.”
** ANNALY CAPITAL MANAGEMENT INC, $15.98, up 1.65 pct (0954 ET)
The company announced a $1.5 billion share repurchase program.
** ABBOTT LABORATORIES INC, $70.53, down 2.2 pct (0955 ET)
The company reported mixed quarterly results, with earnings topping forecasts but sales coming in below Wall Street estimates.
** TEXTRON INC, $25.11, down 5 pct (0956 ET)
The diversified U.S. manufacturer reported a weaker-than-expected 6.3 percent rise in profit on weak demand for corporate jets and declines in sales to the military.
** ST. JUDE MEDICAL INC, $40.32, down 6 pct (0956 ET)
The company reported weaker quarterly net earnings on Wednesday on restructuring and other charges and weaker sales.
** U.S. BANCORP, $34.11, up 1.5 pct (0956 ET)
The company’s third-quarter profit rose 14 percent as the fifth-largest U.S. commercial bank benefited from a surge in home loan refinancing.
** STARBUCKS CORP, $48.88, down 0.2 pct (0957 ET)
The specialty coffee company may face an inquiry into its British tax affairs after a senior member of parliament called for an investigation into how it could avoid paying tax on 1.2 billion pounds ($1.93 billion) of sales since 2009.
** MANHATTAN ASSOCIATES INC, $62.24, up 5 pct (0957 ET)
The software maker posted first-quarter profit above analysts’ estimates, as it added new software license customers and forecast a full year profits above analysts’ estimates.
Benchmark Co and Raymond James cut their price targets on the stock.
** COMERICA INC, $30.42, down 2 pct (0957 ET)
The U.S. regional bank reported a third-quarter profit that missed analysts’ expectations, mainly due to a drop in loans to commercial mortgage customers.
** BLACKROCK INC, $190.87, up 0.5 pct (0958 ET)
The world’s largest money manager, said third-quarter profit rose 8 percent as investors poured cash into its iShares line of exchange-traded funds.
** CENTENE CORP, $37.55, up 7.3 pct (0959 ET)
The health insurer, which has been struggling with high costs with its Medicaid contract in Kentucky and Texas, said it will terminate the Kentucky contract and exit the market effective July 5, 2013. (Compiled by Aditi Shrivastava in Bangalore)