* Apple shares up 5 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 0.3 pct, Nasdaq up 0.2 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, July 24 U.S. stocks slipped on
Wednesday, but the S&P 500 and Dow industrials held near record
highs as weak earnings from blue-chips Caterpillar and AT&T
outweighed Apple's stronger-than-expected results.
The S&P 500 came within 2 points of 1,700 but has fallen
short of breaking through for a fifth straight day, pointing to
The S&P could bump against 1,700 several more times as
happens with other round numbers considered psychological
levels, said Darrell Cronk, regional chief investment officer at
Wells Fargo Private Bank in New York.
After a healthy start to the earnings season, mainly because
of strong numbers from Wall Street's top banks, the technology,
industrial and basic materials sectors have not maintained the
"We're getting results from sectors that by their nature are
going to have slowest growth," Cronk said, pointing to lower
commodity prices as trouble for miners.
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
Apple, the world's largest technology company, rose
5.5 percent to $441.95 a day after it reported earnings and
revenues that beat Wall Street's estimates, and lead the Nasdaq
and the S&P tech sector higher.
The S&P tech sector gained 1 percent.
Utilities was the worst performing sector among 10
in the S&P 500, showing all 31 components falling.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 49.24 points or
0.32 percent, to 15,518.5, the S&P 500 lost 5.48 points
or 0.32 percent, to 1,686.91 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 6.24 points or 0.17 percent, to 3,585.51.
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 have posted revenue
above forecasts. Over the past four quarters, 67 percent of
companies have beaten earnings estimates.
Caterpillar and AT&T disappointed investors after posting
results. Caterpillar shares fell 2.5 percent to $83.34 and AT&T
was off 2.3 percent at $35.01.
Boeing Co, also a Dow component, posted
better-than-expected second-quarter results but the stock fell
0.7 percent to $107 after hitting a lifetime high of $109.48.
Broadcom shares tumbled 15.7 percent to $26.84 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.
Shares of Maidenform Brands jumped 22.6 percent to
$23.41 after rival Hanesbrands said it will buy the
company for $547 million.
The three stocks trading most actively relative to their
average volume on the NYSE were Bank of America, which
fell 1.1 percent to $14.78, Ford, up 3.3 percent to $17.50
and EMC Corp, which rose 6 percent to $26.85.