Stocks hovered close to the break-even point on Wednesday, with technology shares falling as Apple's blowout quarter failed to entice more buying after Wall Street's best day since March.
The iPhone and iPad maker's results followed similarly strong numbers from IBM
There was some profit-taking this morning, but it's over now, said Frank Lesh, a futures analyst and broker at FuturePath Trading LLC in Chicago.Right now, the U.S. debt deal is the real factor that is still holding us back.
Sovereign debt problems in Europe and a drawn-out political battle to increase the U.S. debt ceiling and avoid default have weighed on stocks. On Tuesday, there was progress toward a $3.75 billion U.S. budget deal, prompting a rally late in the session, but a final resolution will still be difficult.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 4.28 points, or 0.03 percent, at 12,591.70. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 2.06 points, or 0.16 percent, at 1,328.79. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 5.91 points, or 0.21 percent, at 2,820.61.
Apple's quarterly report, however, could not offset Yahoo Inc's lackluster results, which pulled the Nasdaq lower.
Internet media company Yahoo lost 7.1 percent to $13.56 a day after reporting a decline in second-quarter revenue.
On the economic front, existing home sales unexpectedly fell to a seven-month low in June as cancellations of pending contracts surged, according to the National Association of Realtors. June sales of previously owned homes dropped 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 4.77 million units.
With earnings season in full swing, Dow component United Technologies Inc raised its full-year profit view, and Textron Inc said profit beat expectations.
United Tech shares lost 2.3 percent to $86.80.
In contrast, Textron's stock shot up 8.2 percent to $23.93.
Shares of AMR Corp
Boeing, a Dow component, climbed 2.7 percent to $72.43 on news it will get nearly one-half of the total order.
The earnings were rather mixed, with Apple being the big headline news, but it wasn't all good news, and people were kind of waiting to see what's going on, said Stephen Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Securities in San Francisco. The bigger issue now is Europe.
On Wednesday, Jose Manuel Barroso, the head of the European Commission, said that EU leaders must find a convincing solution to Greece's debt crisis at a summit on Thursday or the global economy will pay the price.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)