(Updated from 11:21 a.m.)
Wall Street began to dip back into the old-line industrial cookie jar today after construction equipment maker
reported better-than-expected earnings.
But investors weren't placing any big bets on technology stocks as they waited on reports from
after today's close and
At 12:25 p.m., Caterpillar still was the biggest gainer on the
Dow Jones Industrial Average, adding a weighted 21.7 points to the index. The Dow was lately up 48.96 points, or 0.5%, to 10,521.08; the
Nasdaq Composite Index was falling 3.8 points, or 0.2%, to 2025.32, and the
S&P 500 was slipping 1.02 points, or 0.1%, to 1201.43. Volume was thin on the
New York Stock Exchange and paltry on the Nasdaq.
Today and tomorrow are among the biggest earnings days of the quarter, and Wall Street wants more clues to the timing of a profits recovery. Investors have been expecting the earnings decline to turn sometime this year, but some are worried that the economy might fall into a prolonged recession. Caterpillar's earnings report may have assuaged some concerns about whether the technology earnings blowout would drag old-line earnings along with it.
Caterpillar reported earnings of 78 cents per share, compared with average analyst estimates of 71 cents per share, according to
Thomson Financial/First Call
polls. The company saw earnings slide 14% vs. the year-ago quarter and said profits should decline 5% to 10% for the year. Caterpillar expects sales and revenues to be flat this year vs. last. The company's shares were lately up 6.3% to $53.53.
reported an 80% decline in earnings today, but its stock was up 1.1% to $38.65.
reported a 74% decline in earnings, and its shares were lately up fractionally to $67.07.
reported a 36.6% drop in second-quarter income to $1.12, in line with expectations. Kodak was lifting 2.7% to $45.89.
But investors are worried about the post-close earnings report from chip giant Intel and tomorrow's announcement from IBM. Intel said after yesterday's closing bell that it was cutting prices by as much as 37% on some of its microprocessors, so Wall Street fears that the company will have to lower its guidance for the rest of the year. Intel's price cuts come in the midst of a price war with its rivals, in particular
. The war started because of sluggish PC demand.
A couple tech firms that reported earnings since Monday's close didn't provide much encouragement. Dutch electronics firm
joined the chorus of companies that say a chip market recovery won't come until next year. The news helped to topple European tech and telecom stocks this morning, sending the region's major indices south. Philips also said it expects to break even or record a small loss in 2001; the company also said it would cut another 3,000 to 4,000 jobs in its chip unit. Lately, Philip's stock was up, though, by 3.6% to $24.72. And semiconductor-equipment firm
also reported a sharp drop in second-quarter earnings after the close of regular trading yesterday. Novellus was lately falling 0.9% to $45.96.
Banks were higher today, despite weak earnings reports from
. Wells Fargo, the No. 4 banking company in the U.S., posted a second-quarter loss of 5 cents a share. Analysts were forecasting earnings of a penny a share. The stock lately was up 0.4% to $46.20. Merrill beat estimates by 2 cents with income of 56 cents a share, but its earnings dropped 41% compared to the year-ago quarter. The brokerage cited investment losses due to the weak stock market -- its shares were lately down 2.7% to $51.68. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Index
was up 1%.
J.P. Morgan Chase
are all scheduled to report earnings Wednesday.
The market was little moved by the morning's
data. The data showed industrial production declined for the ninth-straight month in June, falling 0.7% for the month, compared with a consensus forecast for a 0.5% drop. May's data was revised up, however, to a 0.5% decline from initial estimates of a 0.8% drop. Capacity utilization fell to 77% for the month, its lowest rate since August 1983, though economists had been expecting an even steeper drop, to 76.6%. Capacity utilization was at a revised 77.6% in May.
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