US STOCKS-Wall St falls on day after big gains as IBM, Intel drag

Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:38pm EDT

Related Topics

* Two stocks fall for every rising share on NYSE

* 22 S&P 500 companies due to report earnings Wednesday

* Dow off 0.6 pct, S&P down 0.4 pct, Nasdaq off 0.4 pct

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, April 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks slipped on Wednesday, a day after Wall Street's best gains in a month, as uninspiring earnings from tech bellwethers IBM and Intel gave investors a reason to take profits.

Chesapeake Energy Corp dropped 5.5 percent to $18.06 and was the most actively traded stock on the New York Stock Exchange after a Reuters report that CEO Aubrey K. McClendon did not disclose loans of as much as $1.1 billion over the last three years against his stake in thousands of the company's oil and natural gas wells.

The stock fell as low as $17.17, its lowest since July 2009.

International Business Machines Corp and Intel Corp were among the biggest drags on the Dow. IBM missed its revenue forecast, while investors said Intel's results failed to make a "bull case" for the stock. IBM shares slipped 3.5 percent to $200.13 while Intel shares fell 1.8 percent to $27.95. The PHLX semiconductor index dropped 0.9 percent.

The lackluster reports from the two technology heavyweights came at the start of what has so far been a strong earnings season.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 had its best day in a month as Coca-Cola Co led the day's round of solid earnings and concerns eased over the euro zone's debt crisis.

"Both Intel and IBM have led to some profit-taking today, with both companies posting decent reports, but disappointing investors for different reasons," said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial in Westport, Connecticut.

"If you want to be an optimist, you could point to the fact that the market didn't sell off all that much, given the solid advance we saw yesterday."

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 82.79 points, or 0.63 percent, to 13,032.75 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 5.64 points, or 0.41 percent, to 1,385.14. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 11.37 points, or 0.37 percent, to 3,031.45.

Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist of Robert W. Baird & Co in Nashville, Tennessee, expects the market to continue its back-and-forth moves, possibly trending lower in the second quarter after strong gains earlier in the year.

"A consolidation or correction phase in the second quarter would make the most sense, and probably it would be the most healthy thing for the market," he said.

Among other declining shares, Berkshire Hathaway Inc's Class B shares dropped 1.3 percent to $79.74 a day after CEO Warren Buffett said he has cancer. On Tuesday, Buffett said that he has Stage 1 prostate cancer that "is not remotely life-threatening or even debilitating in any meaningful way."

A bright spot in the tech space, Yahoo Inc shares gained 3.2 percent to $15.49, a day after reporting that quarterly revenues rose - marking Yahoo's first quarterly sales growth in three years, as the new CEO outlined plans to revamp the struggling Internet media company.

Eighty percent of S&P 500 companies are beating earnings estimates so far, with results in from 66 companies.

Other advancers included Halliburton Co, up 4.6 percent at $34.17, after the world's No. 2 oilfield services company said North American revenue reached a record high.

In contrast, shares of Genworth Financial Inc slid 23.8 percent to $5.87 after the life and mortgage insurer pushed back the initial public offering of an Australian unit.

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