* Procter & Gamble drags on Dow, S&P 500 after outlook
* TripAdvisor rallies after results; Lorillard, Intuit fall
* UBS downgrades Amazon.com to "neutral," shares drop
* Dow off 0.2 pct, S&P 500 flat, Nasdaq up 0.2 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Feb 12 The S&P 500 closed flat on
Wednesday, with a four-day rally in the index just barely coming
to an end after Procter & Gamble cut its outlook, though some
positive earnings limited the decline and eased concerns that
valuations had become stretched.
The Nasdaq rose for a fifth straight session, boosted by
strong results at TripAdvisor, while the Dow felt the pressure
from P&G and ended the day slightly lower.
The S&P 500 gained 3.9 percent over the past four sessions,
its best four-day performance in 13 months. The move put it
about 1.6 percent below its record closing high of 1,848.38 set
on Jan. 15.
"There isn't a big discount to the market since valuations
remain at or approaching fair value, but we don't see it as
overly expensive since earnings are growing steadily," said Eric
Teal, chief investment officer of First Citizens Bancshares in
Raleigh, North Carolina. "We're seeing a better tone in the
market after a rough start to the month."
The recent advance came after Wall Street's sharpest drop in
more than a year, with a selloff triggered by turmoil in
emerging markets. Those issues still play into markets, with
Procter & Gamble saying its lower full-year earnings and sales
outlook was related to the devaluation of currencies in various
Shares of P&G lost 1.7 percent to close at $77.49.
"Stocks that are closely tied to consumer spending patterns
will see some volatility ahead," said Teal, who helps oversee
$3.5 billion in assets.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 30.83
points, or 0.19 percent, to end at 15,963.94. The Standard &
Poor's 500 Index lost just 0.49 of a point, or 0.03
percent, to finish at 1,819.26. The Nasdaq Composite Index
gained 10.24 points, or 0.24 percent, to close at
In other earnings news, TripAdvisor Inc was the S&P
500's biggest percentage gainer, climbing 7.2 percent to $90.27
a day after the travel website company reported revenue that
Owens Corning shares jumped 8.7 percent to $43.20
after the building products maker reported adjusted
fourth-quarter profits that more than tripled, driven by a
rebound in the U.S. housing market.
Of 365 companies in the S&P 500 that had reported earnings
through Wednesday morning, 67.7 percent have beaten profit
expectations, above the long-term average of 63 percent,
according to Thomson Reuters data. More than 66 percent have
beaten revenue forecasts, above the historical average of 61
Still, there are signs of weakness, with 4.8 companies
warning about their first-quarter results for every one with
positive guidance, according to Thomson Reuters data.
NetApp Inc shares fell 3.7 percent in
extended-hours trading following the company's release of
quarterly results after the market closed. Cisco Systems Inc
also reported earnings, but shares were little changed
after the bell.
Amazon.com Inc fell 3.5 percent to $349.25 after
UBS downgraded the stock of the world's largest online retailer
to "neutral," while the shares of both Lorillard Inc and
Intuit Inc slumped after their results.
Shares of tobacco company Lorillard fell 5 percent to
$47.47. The stock of mobile payment company Intuit dropped 4.1
percent to $69.72.
AMCOL International Corp surged 12.3 percent to
$41.24 after the U.S. minerals and materials group agreed to be
acquired by France's Imerys for about $1.6 billion,
About 55 percent of the stocks traded on the New York Stock
Exchange closed higher on the day, while about 51.5 percent of
Nasdaq-listed shares ended in positive territory.
About 5.71 billion shares traded on all U.S. platforms,
according to BATS exchange data.