U.S. stocks fluctuated near an all-time high early today as investors weighed earnings from Facebook Inc. to Caterpillar Inc. amid data showing sales of new homes fell more than estimated.
Facebook jumped 5.2 percent after saying second-quarter sales surged 61 percent. Under Armor Inc. surged 11 percent after increasing its 2014 profit target. Caterpillar sank 2 percent after forecasting full-year profit that fell short of estimates. AT&T Inc. dropped 1.3 percent as earnings missed forecasts. Qualcomm Inc. declined 6.5 percent after forecasting quarterly profit that may trail projections.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell less than one point to 1,986.41 at 10:06 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 3.69 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 17,082.94. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 38 percent above the 30-day average at this time of day.
“I don’t think the market can go much higher in the short term because it’s overbought, but I don’t expect any meaningful correction,” said Pierre Mouton, who helps oversee $8 billion at Notz, Stucki & Cie. in Geneva. “I’m quite impressed with the results I’ve seen till now. In most cases, we’ve had companies beating on revenues and earnings, and posting positive outlooks.”
The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent Wednesday as Apple Inc. helped push technology companies higher, while health-care stocks rallied on earnings. The gauge has advanced 7.5 percent this year amid better-than-estimated corporate results and central- bank support. The index trades at 18.4 times the reported earnings of its members, the highest since 2010.
Global equities advanced today after reports showed euro- area manufacturing and services grew this month while Chinese factory activity rose to an 18-month high in July.
A Markit Economics Ltd. factory gauge for the U.S. unexpectedly declined to 56.3 in July from 57.3 the previous month. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.
Separate data showed fewer new U.S. homes were sold in June than forecast and May data showed the biggest downward revision on record, painting a picture of a housing market that is struggling to gain traction.
Another release showed the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to the lowest level in more than eight years.
Facebook climbed 5.2 percent to an all-time high. The operator of world’s biggest social network said mobile advertisements helped profit more than double as sales surged.
Qualcomm dropped 6.5 percent. The chipmaker projected that net income in the current quarter that will fall short of the average analyst estimate. The company cited challenges to its technology-licensing business in China.
TripAdvisor Inc. slumped 10 percent. The online travel service posted second-quarter adjusted earnings of 55 cents a share, missing the 61-cent projection of analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
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