Stocks Post Slight Losses - TheStreet

Updated from 4:07 p.m. EDT

Stocks ended slightly lower Wednesday, despite an encouraging quarterly report from

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

lost almost 10 points to 9803.05, while the

Nasdaq

fell 4 points to 1939.10. The

S&P 500

shed 2 points to 1046.76.

Volume amounted to almost 1.5 billion shares on the

New York Stock Exchange

and practically 2 billion shares on the Nasdaq. Decliners led advancers by a 3-to-2 margin in both bourses.

Treasuries were lower, with the 10-year down 13/32 to yield 4.4%.

Intel beat analysts' expectations for third-quarter sales and earnings, and forecast a solid rise in profit in the fourth quarter. Analysts at Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney raised their price targets on the stock, while reiterating their buy ratings. Shares advanced 77 cents, or 2.5%, to $31.85. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index rose 0.3%.

Jim Melcher, market strategist at Balestra Capital, said investors are getting mixed news, with Intel sounding "very positive, but not overly optimistic by any means." He added, "It definitely wasn't enough news to justify the current valuation. Also, revenues didn't grow at

Harley-Davidson

(HDI)

, and that, the company cannot meddle with."

Harley-Davidson beat Wall Street projections, but the stock was down amid concerns about the company's flat revenue. Shares fell $3.35, or 6.4%, to $49.10.

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

beat its third-quarter guidance, as profit rose 30% to $425 million. The automaker also said it expects to exceed Wall Street's full-year 2003 earnings estimates of $5 a share. Still, GM shed 31 cents, or 0.7%, to $43.66.

The financial sector was in focus after

FleetBoston Financial

(FBF)

beat third-quarter profit estimates with a 17% increase. Nonetheless, shares lost 14 cents, or 0.4%, to $32.49.

Wachovia

(WB) - Get Report

posted a solid rise in third-quarter profit and topped analysts' estimates. Its shares were little changed at $44.29.

Shares of

Coca-Cola Enterprises

(CCE)

closed up 42 cents, or 2.1%, at $20.12 after the soft-drink bottler posted a 36% increase in profit and boosted its guidance for 2003.

In research news,

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

was upgraded at J.P. Morgan to overweight from neutral Wednesday. Coca-Cola climbed 82 cents, or 1.8%, to $45.37.

Elsewhere, Morgan Stanley sounded a grim note on

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

, saying the stock has little upside potential given its recent run-up. Shares lost 44 cents, or 1.8%, to $23.95.

Novellus Systems

(NVLS)

posted a quarterly loss related to restructuring costs. But excluding all charges, the chip-equipment maker said it earned 4 cents a share, better than Wall Street estimates of a break-even quarter. Novellus gained $1.02, or 2.7%, to $38.44.

General Dynamics

(GD) - Get Report

said third-quarter earnings slipped from a year ago despite a 35% jump in quarterly revenue. Shares of the company rose 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $85.16.

On the economic front, retail sales fell a larger-than-expected 0.2% in September, from a revised 1.2% rise in the previous month. The decline was mainly due to weaker auto sales. Excluding autos, sales rose at a 0.4% rate, in line with estimates and below the revised 1.2% pace registered in the prior month.

Manufacturing in the New York State region unexpectedly grew in October, as the New York Empire State Index rose to 33.7 from 18.4 a month earlier. Economists had expected a more modest increase to 16. In the afternoon, the

Federal Reserve

will deliver its beige book, a survey of economic conditions in the nation.

European markets were higher, with London's FTSE 100 up 0.8% at 4368 and Germany's Xetra DAX up 0.8% at 3566. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed 0.6% lower at 10,899, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.7% to 12,056.

Crude oil futures were lower in London, and the dollar was slightly higher against the euro and yen.

On Tuesday, the Dow rose 48 points, or 0.5%, to 9812.98, a new 16-month high. The Nasdaq gained almost 10 points, or 0.5%, to 1943.19, while the S&P 500 climbed 4 points, or 0.4%, to 1049.48.