US STOCKS-Wall St backs off record highs, Apple jumps
* Apple shares up 5.9 pct, keep Nasdaq index positive
* Caterpillar, AT&T weigh on Dow
* Boeing hits lifetime high before turning negative
* Dow down 0.3 pct, S&P off 0.4 pct, Nasdaq up 0.1 pct
By Alison Griswold
NEW YORK, July 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks pulled back from record highs Wednesday afternoon, as losses in utility and commodity stocks more than offset significant gains in the tech sector on Apple's stronger-than-expected earnings.
The declines were broad, with nine of the 10 S&P 500 sectors moving lower. The utilities index was the worst performer, shedding 1.7 percent, while the materials and energy indexes fell more than 1 percent apiece.
Even the tech-driven Nasdaq briefly entered negative territory in afternoon trading, despite a gain of nearly 6 percent in shares of Apple.
Other earnings on the day were mixed, with weak results coming from blue-chips Caterpillar and AT&T, but better-than-expected news from Boeing Co.
Jeff Meyerson, head of trading for Sunrise Securities in New York, said earnings are "so far not so bad," but added that no company has yet reported news that could propel the market to new highs.
"If there were to be market-moving earnings news, it would be on the negative side," Meyerson said. "I don't see big blowout numbers to drive the market to the plus side and move it significantly higher."
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 49.84 points, or 0.32 percent, at 15,517.90, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 7.11 points, or 0.42 percent, at 1,685.28. The Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 2.51 points, or 0.07 percent, at 3,581.78.
Analysts said the market was pausing as investors booked profits after a sizable upward move over the past month. The S&P 500 has added as much as 7.8 percent since late June and hit several new record closing highs along the way.
Tech bellwether Apple rose 5.9 percent to $443.68 a day after it reported earnings and revenues that beat Wall Street's estimates, helping to keep the Nasdaq and S&P 500 tech shares afloat. The S&P tech sector added more than 1 percent.
Caterpillar and AT&T, on the other hand, disappointed investors after posting results. Caterpillar shares fell 2.6 percent to $83.28 and AT&T was off 1.5 percent at $35.27.
Boeing, also a Dow component, posted upbeat second-quarter results but the stock fell 0.8 percent to $106.94 after hitting a lifetime high of $109.48 earlier in the session.
Broadcom shares tumbled 14.4 percent to $27.24 a day after the chipmaker forecast lower-than-expected third-quarter revenue. At least four brokerages cut their rating and about 10 lowered their price targets on Broadcom's stock.
Out of the 169 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings so far this season, 65.7 percent have beaten analysts' expectations for earnings and 53.3 percent posted revenue above forecasts. Over the past four quarters, 67 percent of companies have beaten earnings estimates.
Shares of Maidenform Brands jumped 22.6 percent to $23.40 after rival Hanesbrands said it will buy the company for $547 million.
The market got some support from data showing private industry in the euro zone expanded for the first time in more than a year and U.S. factories also posted a strong month, but Chinese manufacturing continued to lose steam.
U.S. new-home sales jumped to a five-year high in June, showing no signs of slowing in the face of higher mortgage rates.
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