* Durable goods data shows biggest drop in seven months
* P&G slips, Boeing gains after earnings
* Indexes: Dow off 0.02 pct, S&P up 0.06 pct, Nasdaq off
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, April 24 U.S. stocks were little
changed on Wednesday, after a disappointing durable goods report
tempered recent enthusiasm over a relatively robust earnings
Economic data showed orders for long-lasting U.S.
manufactured goods slumped 5.7 percent in March, the biggest
drop in seven months, and far below expectations calling for a
decline of 2.8 percent.
"It's basically just confirming what we've seen in the
economic numbers so far this month, that basically, things
weren't quite as good as we thought at the end of the first
quarter," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at
OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.
"I don't expect there to be a massive selloff today but (the
data) says the economy is having to work pretty hard to make
But support for the Dow and S&P was provided Boeing Co
, which jumped 4.2 percent to $91.92 as the top boost for
each index after the aerospace giant reported first-quarter
Also offsetting results from Boeing were declines in Procter
and Gamble Co, which lost 4.2 percent to $78.47 after
reporting third-quarter results and issuing a profit outlook for
the current quarter that fell short of Wall Street's
expectations. The S&P consumer staples index shed 0.5
Corning Inc gained 4 percent to $13.66 after the
specialty glass maker's first-quarter profit beat analysts'
estimates, helped by strong demand for its scratch-resistant
Gorilla Glass used in smartphones and tablets.
According to Thomson Reuters data, 45 companies in the S&P
500 are scheduled to report results Wednesday, including
Dow component Aflac Inc, Qualcomm Inc and
Citrix Systems Inc after the close.
Apple Inc shares lost 0.8 percent to $402.95 after
the iPad maker bowed Tuesday to investors' demands to share more
of its $145 billion cash pile, while posting its first quarterly
profit decline in more than a decade.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 2.30 points,
or 0.02 percent, to 14,717.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
gained 1.00 points, or 0.06 percent, to 1,579.78. The
Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 1.57 points, or 0.05
percent, to 3,267.76.
Earnings season has been largely positive, with more than
68.9 percent of S&P 500 companies that have reported results so
far beating expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data
through Tuesday morning. Since 1994, 63 percent have surpassed
estimates on average, while the beat rate is 67 percent for the
past four quarters.
Analysts see earnings growth of 2.3 percent this quarter, up
from expectations of 1.5 percent at the start of the month.
In merger news, OPKO Health Inc will buy
Israel-based biopharmaceutical company Prolor Biotech Inc
in an all-stock deal valued at $480 million to expand
its portfolio of specialty drugs. OPKO shares dipped 1.6 percent
to $6.95 while Prolor jumped 8.2 percent to $6.31.