Updated from 4:06 p.m. EDT
Stocks fell Wednesday as earnings travails among media, technology and consumer-products companies offset a 3% drop in oil prices.
A day after closing at a six-year high, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
lost 16.17 points, or 0.14%, at 11,400.28. The
fell 5.36 points, or 0.41%, to 1307.85, and the
gave back 5.87 points, or 0.25%, to 2303.97. Each of the major indices finished off of its session low.
The 10-year Treasury bond was down 6/32 in price to yield 5.14%, and the dollar continued to ease against the yen and euro.
"It's hard to gauge the market at this point because of the continuing problem with interest rates," said Paul Nolte, director of investments with Hinsdale Associates. "We can't get a followthrough at all after a day of gains because of higher yields. There's that fear of an eventual slowdown."
Phillip Roth, chief technical market analyst with Miller Tabak, argued that the rise in long-term rates "is more important than the cost of crude. This is why we didn't see an immediate reaction to a drawback in crude. We're one strong economic statistic away from blasting the bond market and stocks have problems with that."
That piece of economic data Roth refers to may come Friday, when the Labor Department will report nonfarm-payroll data for the month of April. Economists expect that the U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs for the month and that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.7%.
The Dow was hurt by a 3.3% decline in
Procter & Gamble
, which issued a third-quarter earnings report that contained weaker-than-expected guidance.
weighed on the S&P 500, falling 2% on disappointing sales figures.
Procter & Gamble's third-quarter earnings rose 37% from a year ago to $2.21 billion, while adjusted earnings of 62 cents a share were a penny ahead of estimates. Sales, however, were $17.3 billion, about $300 million below forecasts. For the fourth quarter, P&G pegged earnings at 52 cents to 54 cents a share -- up from its previous forecast, but as much as 3 cents below the Thomson First Call EPS consensus.
Time Warner said first-quarter sales rose just 1% from a year ago to $10.46 billion, missing the $10.9 billion Thomson First Call consensus. Falling revenue at AOL and in Time Warner's movie studios was partially offset by a stellar quarter at Time Warner Cable. Shares closed down 20 cents, or 1.2%, to $17.22.
About 1.74 billion shares traded on the
New York Stock Exchange
, with decliners beating advancers by a 9-to-7 margin. Trading volume on the Nasdaq was 2.16 billion shares. Winners and losers were even.
To view Gregg Greenberg's video take on today's market, click here
Oil futures fell $2.33 to close at $72.28 a barrel as traders weighed the Energy Department's weekly inventory numbers. The report showed that crude inventories fell by 1.7 million barrels, while gasoline stocks unexpectedly rose by 2.1 million barrels.
Precious metals were mixed in a volatile session Thursday. Gold for June delivery, which traded as low as $660 and as high as $679, rose $1.10 to $668.50 an ounce, close to a 26-year high. Silver futures finished down 41 cents at $13.79 an ounce, falling from multiyear highs.
Despite the gain in gold futures, the Amex Gold Bugs index fell 1.8%. Energy indices were weaker as well, with the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index falling 2.2% and the Amex Oil index down 1.5%. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Sector index was one of the few gainers, finishing up 1.2%.
On the economic front, the Institute for Supply Management said its services index unexpectedly rose to a reading of 63 in April. Economists expected the index to dip to a reading of 59.4 from 60.5 the previous month.
Elsewhere, the Commerce Department said U.S. factory orders rose 4.2% in March, higher than expectations of a 3.7% increase. Also, March durable goods orders were revised upward to 6.5% from 6.1%.
Back to earnings,
reported first-quarter revenue of $5.08 billion, up from $4.74 billion a year ago and topping the $4.8 billion consensus. Adjusted earnings, however, trailed estimates. EDS dropped $1.62, or 5.9%, to $26.
Meanwhile, Adobe's shares tumbled 8.6% after the software maker forecast second-quarter earnings at the low end of previous guidance, citing weak demand in Europe and North America. Adobe expects to report revenue of $640 million to $670 million and adjusted earnings of 30 cents to 32 cents a share. The forecasts were within the range of analyst estimates, but the shares nevertheless fell $3.29 to close at $35.06.
said net income rose to $88 million, or 5 cents a share, up 54% from a year earlier. Revenue inched higher to $3.48 billion from $3.45 billion. Analysts were looking for earnings of a penny a share on revenue of $3.49 billion. Shares were down 11 cents, or 1.6%, to close at $6.88.
Wireless telecom company
said net income fell to $297.4 million, or 77 cents a share, from $313 million, or $1.03 a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 19% to $2.54 billion. Excluding items, Alltel earned 82 cents a share, beating the Thomson First Call consensus by 4 cents. Alltel was lower by 77 cents, or 1.2%, to $64.98.
raised its third-quarter earnings outlook by 2 cents to a range of 38 cents to 40 cents a share, citing increased demand for chipsets. The Thomson First Call estimate stands at 38 cents a share. Shares of Qualcomm rose 69 cents, or 1.4%, to $51.75.
After the close Wednesday,
posted fiscal second-quarter earnings of $127 million, or 16 cents a share, up 27% from last year. The Thomson First Call consensus was for EPS of 14 cents. The stock finished the session down 47 cents, or 1.2%, to $37.35, and traded lower after hours.
Whole Foods Market
( WFMI) and
are also expected after the bell.
Earnings reports are expected Thursday from
Away from earnings,
said that rival
Warner Music Group
( WMG) has rejected a takeover offer that valued Warner Music at $28.50 a share, or $4.2 billion. Warner gained 71 cents, or 2.6%, to $28.
In early stock research, Bank of America raised
( MOT) to buy from neutral, while Friedman Billings raised
to outperform from market perform.
Motorola added 67 cents, or 3.2%, to $21.92. Murphy Oil climbed 67 cents, or 1.3%, to close at $51.15.
Overseas markets were mixed, with London's FTSE 100 off 1.2% to 6010 and Germany's Xetra DAX losing 1.4% to 5967. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei gained 1.4% overnight, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 0.9% to 17,027.