US Stocks Mostly Lower As New Home Sales, Apple Results Weigh
07/25/2012| 04:01pm US/Eastern
--Stocks rise as Caterpillar, Boeing offset Apple's disappointment
--Apple drops after rare earnings miss
--New-home sales fall more than expected
By Matt Jarzemsky
NEW YORK--U.S. stocks edged mostly lower after new-home sales data and quarterly results from Apple disappointed, but upbeat results at Boeing and other large industrial companies helped blue chips escape a fourth-straight decline.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 62 points, or 0.5%, to 12679 in recent trading, on track to snap a three-day streak of triple-digit point declines.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index slipped less than a point to 1338. The technology sector led declines among the index's 10 groups as Apple, the world's biggest company by market capitalization, dropped 4.2%.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index retreated nine points, or 0.3%, to 2854.
Apple reported earnings and revenue that missed analysts' forecasts, as iPhone sales rose less than anticipated. That marked only the second time in the past 39 quarters that results missed expectations.
Shares of Boeing rose 2.9%, recently leading the Dow higher, after the aircraft maker reported better-than-anticipated results for the quarter and raised its profit projection for the year. Caterpillar gained 1.4% after the machinery maker also raised its earnings forecast and beat expectations for the latest period.
"The industrial side of the economy is putting up good numbers in the face of weakening economic data," said Mike Gibbs, co-head of the equity advisory group at Raymond James Financial, which oversees $380 billion in assets.
Sales of newly built homes in the U.S. dropped more than expected, to the lowest level in five months in June, according to the Commerce Department.
"Housing data kind of put a damper on the direction of the day," said Seth Setrakian, co-head of U.S. equities at First New York Securities, a brokerage. "People are realizing the slowing economy is starting to weigh on various sectors."
European markets bounced between gains and losses. The Stoxx Europe 600 shed 0.1% amid muted economic readings. But Spain's IBEX 35 added 0.8%.
Asian markets fell on the back of extended losses in the U.S. and Apple's disappointing results, with Japan's Nikkei Stock Average shedding 1.4% and China's Shanghai Composite losing 0.4%.
In other earnings news, Netflix tumbled 24%, the biggest slide among S&P 500 components after giving a downbeat outlook for the third quarter.
Eli Lilly rose 2.8% after the pharmaceutical company reported better-than-expected second-quarter results and raised its full-year earnings outlook.
RadioShack plunged 30% after the electronics seller reported a surprise second-quarter loss on lower consumer-electronics sales and a disappointing gross margin rate, and suspended the payment of its dividend.
WellPoint, poised to be the largest U.S. health insurer after its planned acquisition of Amerigroup, slid 12% after lowering this year's projections for earnings and membership.
Health-food store chain Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage jumped 20% on its first day of trading. The company's initial public offering priced at the high end of its expected range.
Write to Matt Jarzemsky at firstname.lastname@example.org
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