RTTNews - Stocks are continuing to tread near the unchanged mark in mid-afternoon trading on Wednesday, as the latest batch of earnings reports saw restrained reaction. The major averages are mixed, continuing to bounce between modest gains and losses.
Earlier this morning, traders were presented with quarterly results from a number of big-name companies, including Apple (AAPL), Yahoo! (YHOO), Pfizer (PFE) Boeing (BA), Morgan Stanley (MS), Wells Fargo (WFC), and PepsiCo (PEP).
Reactions were mixed, however, as most firms met or beat estimates by cost cutting rather than revenue growth.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke redelivered his address regarding monetary policy before the Senate Banking Committee while also fielding questions regarding the current and near-term economic outlook.
In his prepared remarks, Bernanke reiterated that the U.S. economy is showing signs of stabilization, although he noted that the economy is still in a fragile state, with unemployment high and consumer spending shaky.
Questioning the Fed chief, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said that while some signs of economic recovery have been seen on Wall Street, the benefits have yet to make it to Main Street.
The major averages are currently stuck on opposite sides of the unchanged line, with the Dow posting a modest loss. While the Dow is currently down 14.73 at 8,901.21, the Nasdaq is up 11.70 at 1,927.90 and the S&P 500 is up 1.64 at 956.22.
One of the Dow's leading gainers is drug maker Pfizer (PFE), which is posting a gain of 1.3 percent in mid-afternoon trading. The move comes after the firm reported second quarter earnings that were in line with Wall Street forecasts. The day's gain lifted the stock to its best intraday price in six months earlier in the day.
Shares of Bank of America (BAC) and General Electric (GE) are also on the rise, advancing by 1.2 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Despite the upward move, Bank of America remains stuck in roughly a two-month trading range, while General Electric is in a one-month range.
While Intel (INTC), DuPont (DD), Disney (DIS) and Home Depot (HD) are also moving higher, the Dow is being dragged down by shares of Coca-Cola (KO), which are down by 2.5 percent. The decline is dragging the stock further off the nine-month closing high set on Monday.
Notable loses are also being shown by American Express (AXP), which is sliding by 2.3 percent and Cisco (CSCO), which is dipping by 1.2 percent. While the stocks are pulling back off their best closing levels in roughly nine months, shares of Caterpillar (CAT) are down by 2 percent and retreating from their highest closing price in over two months.
Electronic storage, semiconductor and housing stocks continue to move higher by notable margins in mid-afternoon dealing. Notably, the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index is up by 3.5 percent, boosted by earnings from NVR (NVR), which firmly beat Wall Street estimates.
Transportation and health insurance stocks are also continuing to post significant gains, although the day's gains are being offset by weakness in the resource and financial sectors.
Steel stocks are posting notable losses, as reflected by the 1 percent pullback in the NYSE Arca Steel Index.
Within the steel sector, shares of Allegheny Technologies (ATI) are down 17.4 percent, poised to finish at their lowest price in three months. The loss comes after the company reported second quarter revenue that was below expectations.
Oil service and healthcare provider are also slipping, with a dip in the price of oil contributing to the losses by oil stocks, while talk of healthcare reform continues to spearhead volatility among healthcare stocks.
In Focus: Earnings Reports
Tech giant Apple reported a third quarter profit of $1.35 per share, compared to profit of $1.19 per share in the year-ago quarter. Wall Street analysts expected the company to earn $1.17 per share for the quarter, while the company's quarterly sales also beat estimates.
Yahoo! revealed second-quarter earnings of $0.10 per share, compared to $0.09 per share in the prior year quarter. The results beat analyst expectations of $0.08 per share, and third quarter revenue estimates also cleared forecasts by a notable margin.
Boeing Co. said its second-quarter net income was $1.41 per share, compared to $1.16 per share in the same period last year. The earnings crushed earnings forecasts of $1.21 per share, while revenues came in-line with estimates.
Morgan Stanley reported a second quarter net loss of $1.10, compared to net income of $1.02 in the year ago quarter. Wall Street looked for the financial services giant to show a loss of $0.49 per share, while the firm's revenues met forecasts.
Meanwhile, Wells Fargo, PepsiCo, QLogic (QLGC), and Altria (MO) posted results that exceeded estimates.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday. While Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index posted a 0.7 percent gain, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 1.3 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets all closed modestly higher, with the German DAX Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index finishing up by 0.5 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, while the French CAC 40 Index lagged behind, posting a gain of only 0.1 percent.
In the bond markets, treasuries are seeing notable weakness. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note is trading at 3.531 percent, posting a gain of 5.4 basis points on the day.
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