* IBM shares fall on weak revenue, pressuring Dow
* Transport index hit new high, Norfolk rallies
* BlackBerry rallies for third straight day
* Indexes: Dow off 0.2, S&P flat, Nasdaq up 0.4 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Jan 22 U.S. stocks were little changed
on Wednesday, as a mixed bag of recent corporate earnings failed
to give investors confidence to push equities higher, with the
S&P 500 near record levels.
While the Nasdaq advanced, the Dow fell for a second
straight day, again pressured by weak results from one of its
International Business Machines Corp lost 3.5
percent to $181.88, the biggest drag on both the Dow and S&P
500, after the tech giant missed revenue expectations for a
fourth straight quarter amid weakening demand, particularly in
growth markets like China.
The results followed similar disappointments from Verizon
, Travelers and Johnson & Johnson, which
weighed on the Dow on Tuesday.
IBM's decline offset modest gains from fellow component
United Technologies Corp, which rose 0.6 percent to
$115.68 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings that topped
Wall Street estimates, although revenue fell shy of
"We've seen significant decreases in a company's ability to
deliver on earnings this quarter... however, we've also seen
signs that the top-line growth we've been looking for is
starting to emerge," said Kristina Hooper, head of portfolio
strategies at Allianz Global Investors in New York.
"Seeing a broad-based top-line growth trend would really
speak to the health of the economy... that's allowed for the
market to hang in there despite some disappointments."
With 16 percent of the S&P 500 having reported, about 61
percent have topped profit expectations, according to Thomson
Reuters data, compared with the long-term average of 63 percent.
More than 66 percent have topped revenue expectations, over the
55 percent average over the past four quarters.
About eight companies have issued negative outlooks for
every positive one, which would mark the lowest ratio on record
should it continue.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 40.04
points, or 0.24 percent, at 16,374.40. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 0.47 points, or 0.03 percent, at 1,844.27.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 15.31 points, or 0.36
percent, at 4,241.07.
After a 29.6 percent jump in the S&P 500 in 2013, buoyed by
the Federal Reserve's massive stimulus, the S&P has shaved off a
mere 0.2 percent so far in 2014 as investors look to corporate
profits for evidence of growth as the Federal Reserve winds down
its market-friendly bond purchases.
"In general valuations are stretched, though there are still
areas of opportunity for investors who are able to be more
selective," aid Hooper, who helps oversee $436 billion in assets
under management. "Focusing on areas with more growth may be
worth paying up for."
Also in earnings, Advanced Micro Devices Inc slumped
10.8 percent to $3.72 after forecasting a steeper-than-expected
fall in current quarter revenue, while Coach Inc tumbled
6 percent to $49.38 as the S&P's worst performer after it said
sales in North America fell further in the final quarter of
On the upside, Norfolk Southern Corp jumped 4.7
percent to $94.39 after its earnings beat expectations, helping
lift the Dow Jones Transportation average to a record
Nuance Communications rose 8.4 percent to $16.15
after giving a first-quarter outlook, helping to boost the
Nasdaq. U.S.-listed shares of BlackBerry also buoyed
the tech-heavy index, jumping 5.5 percent to $10.47. Shares of
the smartphone maker are up more than 22 percent over the past
Cloud software maker VMWare Inc said it would buy
privately-held mobile security company AirWatch, in a deal
valued at about $1.54 billion, to tap into rising demand for
software security, sending its shares up 2.1 percent to $99.37.