US STOCKS-Wall St dips as data, sinking momentum shares offset earnings

Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:07am EDT

* CPI edges higher, Empire State manufacturing misses expectations

* Materials under pressure after Chile cuts copper outlook

* Indexes: Dow up 0.08 pct, S&P up 0.11 pct, Nasdaq off 0.39 pct (Updates to open; adds data, quote)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, April 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks dipped on Tuesday, as gains in Coca Cola and Johnson & Johnson after their quarterly earnings were offset by mixed economic data and a resumed slide in momentum shares.

Coca-Cola Co advanced 3.2 percent to $39.98 as the biggest boost to the S&P 500 after the soft drink maker reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue as strong sales in China more than offset a drop in Europe and flat volumes in North America.

Fellow Dow component Johnson & Johnson rose 1.3 percent to $98.37 after it posted quarterly earnings well above Wall Street expectations, as brisk sales of new prescription drugs balanced weak sales of consumer products, and slightly raised its full-year profit view.

The Nasdaq moved lower, however, weighed down by another round of declines in momentum names. Tesla Motors fell 3.3 percent to $191.45 and Facebook lost 2.7 percent to $57.32 to rank among the worst performers on the Nasdsq 100 index.

"The outlooks certainly look healthy and there is a sense of optimism on earnings," said Anastasia Amoroso, global market strategist with J.P. Morgan Funds in New York.

"But given that we've talked so much about the bad weather in the first quarter, it is definitely priced into their estimate and is probably part of the reason why estimates came down in anticipation of this earnings season."

Economic data continued to point to a sluggish recovery.

A gauge of manufacturing in New York state grew at a slower rate than the previous month and was below expectations in April. Meanwhile, the U.S. Consumer Price Index increased 0.2 percent in March, although inflation pressures remained generally benign.

The National Association of Home Builders said homebuilder sentiment edged up in April but remained mostly dour on lingering concerns about stiff credit conditions for buyers and tight supply of building lots and labor.

S&P 500 companies' first-quarter earnings are projected to have increased just 1 percent from a year ago, Thomson Reuters data showed. The forecast is down sharply from the start of the year, when profit growth was estimated at 6.5 percent.

Investors will be looking at the impact of harsh winter weather on first-quarter earnings, and signs of company optimism for the second-quarter.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 13.65 points or 0.08 percent, to 16,186.89, the S&P 500 gained 2.02 points or 0.11 percent, to 1,832.63.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 15.585 points or 0.39 percent, to 4,007.109.

Materials stocks lost ground after Chile reduced its global outlook for copper prices to an average $3.05 per pound this year, down from its previous estimate of $3.15, as prospects for growth ease in top buyer China. Newmont Mining Corp lost 3.6 percent to $23.53 as the worst performer on the benchmark S&P index.

Aaron's Inc, slumped 7.4 percent to $28.23 after the rent-to-own furniture and electronics retailer said it had rejected a $2.3 billion takeover offer from a major shareholder and instead acquired a retail credit financing firm for about $700 million.

Barcode printer maker Zebra Technologies said it would buy Motorola Solutions's enterprise business, which makes rugged mobile computers, tablets and barcode scanners, for $3.45 billion in cash. Motorola Solutions shares slipped 1.3 percent and Zebra Tech lost 6.7 percent. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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