Stocks Mixed as P&G Forecast Offsets Yum, Boeing

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Disappointments from Procter & Gamble ( PG) and Edwards Lifesciences ( EW) offset a bullish report on equities from Goldman Sachs as the S&P 500 closed unchanged on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 closed at 1,578.79. The index has gained 11% this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% to 14,676.30, while the Nasdaq added 0.01% to 3,269.65.

Goldman Sachs, in a client report, said it expects markets to move higher into summer, telling investors to ignore the usual "sell in May and go away" mentality. The investment bank raised its equities forecast to "overweight" over the coming three months on expectations of an acceleration in global growth.

Despite the Goldman report, markets were weighed down by Procter & Gamble's sales forecast that fell short of expectations. The consumer goods manufacturer tumbled 5.9% to $77.12.

First Solar ( FSLR) was the leading performer on the S&P as solar sector stocks received a boost from reports that a group of U.S. senators reintroduced the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act, which intends to give tax advantages for renewable energy projects. Shares of the company jumped 12% to $45.11.

Edwards Lifesciences was one of the heaviest decliners on the S&P 500, plunging 22% to $64.60 after the medical company on Tuesday cut its full-year outlook on sluggish sales of its transcatheter heart valves.

The Census Bureau reported that durable goods orders fell 5.7% in March after rising 5.7% in February. Orders excluding the transportation component slid 1.4%. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, estimated durable goods orders would fall 2.8% and that core durable goods orders would rise 0.5%.

Juniper Networks ( JNPR) lost 9.6% to $15.69 after the second-biggest maker of computer networking equipment forecast second-quarter earnings that were below expectations, driven by lower government and financial services spending.

"One of the main reasons for the market rally is the continued easing policies from the Federal Reserve," Brian Amidei, HighTower Palm Desert's managing director and partner, said in an emailed comment. "This has allowed the markets to disregard some of the less than positive economic reports that we have seen over the last several months.

"We do not see the Fed changing its policy over the summer so we believe that after the short-term volatility we are seeing, markets will be higher at year's end," Amidei said.

In the interim, Amidei said that the market should consolidate over the next few weeks with a pullback in the 5% to 7% range from the S&P 500's record closing price of 1,593.37 on April 11 heading higher again.

Apple ( AAPL) slipped 0.2% to $405.46 after the iPhone, iPad and iPod maker reported second-quarter results that met analyst expectations and forecast revenue between $33.5 billion and $35.5 billion, with gross margins between 36% and 37% in the fiscal third quarter. The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm posted its second-quarter numbers after market close on Tuesday.

Apple said it would buy back an additional $50 billion in stock, raising its total outlay for share repurchases to more than $60 billion. Apple also raised its quarterly dividend to $3.05 a share, an increase of 15% over its previous level.

Yum Brands ( YUM) jumped 7% to $68.65 as the biggest gainer in the S&P 500 after the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell posted adjusted earnings in the first quarter of 70 cents a share. Analysts were looking for 60 cents.

Boeing ( BA) added 3% to $90.83 after the aerospace giant exceeded first-quarter expectations with earnings of $1.73 a share on revenue of $18.9 billion as higher deliveries on the Boeing 737 and Boeing 777 models offset lower 787 Dreamliner deliveries.

-- Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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