US STOCKS-Wall St slips on Spain, earnings worries

Tue Oct 2, 2012 4:34pm EDT

* Spain won't request aid this weekend: Prime Minister Rajoy
    * Shares of Chipotle down after comments by fund chief
Einhorn
    * Earnings season to kick into full gear next week
    * Dow down 0.2 pct; S&P up 0.1 pct; Nasdaq up 0.2 pct


    By Angela Moon
    NEW YORK, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Wall Street ended little changed
in a volatile session on Tuesday as uncertainty over when Spain
might apply for a bailout shackled a market struggling to build
on gains that took the S&P 500 to its highest in nearly five
years.
    The market was also hamstrung by concerns about the upcoming
reporting period that kicks into full gear next week. 
    The Dow was pressured by stocks closely tied to the pace of
growth, including Caterpillar Inc and Boeing Co.
A major headwind for the economy has been declining demand from
Europe, which has been drifting toward recession.
    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said a request for
European aid was not imminent following a report the country 
could apply for help soon. Germany has signaled that Madrid
should hold off on making its request, according to European
officials on Monday.  
    "The market is reacting more to the (Spain) news because it
wants to consolidate after a pretty good run. The market is
making this news even bigger than it really is just to make it
an excuse to sell," said Frank Gretz, market analyst at
Wellington Shields & Co in New York.
    The S&P rose nearly 6 percent in the third quarter, lifted
by accommodative moves by the Federal Reserve and European
Central Bank, which market participants bet would boost flagging
growth.
    If Madrid were to seek a rescue, it would trigger European
Central Bank buying of its bonds and help to ease U.S.
investors' nervousness about impact of the euro zone's debt
crisis on the U.S. economy.
    "Until we get some kind of clarity, we should expect a lot
of volatility and difficulty holding on to gains," said Brian
Barish, president of Cambiar Investors LLC in Denver.
    The Dow Jones industrial average was down 32.83
points, or 0.24 percent, at 13,482.28. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 1.26 points, or 0.09 percent, at 1,445.75.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 6.51 points, or 0.21
percent, at 3,120.04.
    Weaker-than-expected results from Mosaic added to
worries about the upcoming third-quarter earnings period. Mosaic
shares fell 3.9 percent to $55.76.
    Vanguard Group, the largest U.S. mutual fund manager, said
it was switching 22 of its biggest index funds away from
benchmarks provided by MSCI Inc in order to cut costs.
 The MSCI shares fell 26.8 percent to $26.21.
    Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc took a nosedive
when hedge fund manager David Einhorn said the restaurant chain
will face significant competition and additional costs, making
it an attractive "short." The stock fell 4.2 percent to $302.96.
    In a presentation at the annual Value Investing Congress in
New York, Einhorn highlighted some stocks he expects will rise
such as General Motors. GM shares rose 2.6 percent to
$23.68.
    Car companies reported September sales, with General Motors
and Chrysler Group LLC posting gains while Ford Motor Co 
remained flat.
    GM, the largest U.S. automaker, reported a 1.5 percent
increase, while Ford reported sales on par with its results from
a year earlier. Chrysler showed a 12 percent jump in sales.
 Ford shares lost 1.4 percent to $9.79.
    PetSmart Inc shares added 1.5 percent to $68.55
after S&P Dow Jones Indices said after Monday's close the
company will replace Sunoco in the S&P 500 on Oct. 4.
    About 5.7 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock
Exchange, Amex and Nasdaq, compared with the average daily
volume of 6.38 billion.
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