* Cisco falls after results, outlook
* Comcast to buy Time Warner
* Whole Foods drops after cutting forecast
* Initial claims rise, retail sales fall
* Indexes: Dow off 0.24 pct, S&P off 0.12 pct, Nasdaq up
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Feb 13 U.S. stocks edged lower on
Thursday, as investors discounted weaker-than-expected data on
consumer spending and the labor market, but a disappointing
outlook by Cisco Systems weighed on each of the major indexes.
Cisco fell 4.5 percent to $21.85 as one of the top
drags on all three major U.S. indexes after the network-gear
maker forecast a drop of 6 to 8 percent in revenue in the
Indexes managed to recover from initial lows and pull to
near the unchanged mark as investors looked past soft data on
the consumer and labor market due to harsh weather conditions.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose last
week and retail sales fell in January, while December retail
sales were also revised lower.
"Certainly, weather affected retail sales in January and we
would expect it again in February," said Kate Warne, investment
strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.
"Yes, they were disappointing but nobody is sure whether it
is a real slow down or just due to the weather."
Comcast Corp said it would buy Time Warner Cable
Inc for $45.2 billion in an all-stock deal that combines
the two largest U.S. cable operators.
Time Warner shares rose 6.9 percent to $144.58 while Comcast
shed 3.9 percent to $53.05. Shares of Charter Communications Inc
, which had also pursued Time Warner, fell 6.8 percent
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 38.23 points or
0.24 percent, to 15,925.71, the S&P 500 lost 2.2 points
or 0.12 percent, to 1,817.06 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 4.853 points or 0.12 percent, to 4,206.141.
A deadly winter storm moved north along the East Coast of
the United States on Thursday, bringing heavy snow, sleet and
rain across the Washington, D.C., and New York areas, grounding
flights and shutting government offices.
A scheduled hearing by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen in
front of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Thursday was
postponed due to the snowstorm in the U.S. East Coast. Yellen's
testimony Tuesday helped fuel strong gains on Wall Street.
Whole Foods Market Inc lost 8.5 percent to $50.76
after the largest U.S. organic and natural food retailer stunned
investors on Wednesday by cutting its 2014 sales forecast for
the second time in three months.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co jumped 8.3 percent to
$26.17 after one of the world's largest tire companies posted a
higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Thursday and said
it had fully funded its hourly U.S. pension plan.
Of 382 companies in the S&P 500 that reported earnings
through Thursday morning, 67.5 percent beat profit expectations,
above the 63 percent average since 1994 and slightly above the
67 percent rate for the past four quarters, according to Thomson
Avon Products Inc shed 1.6 percent to $14.82 after
it posted fourth-quarter results and said it may cost as much as
$132 million to settle a U.S. bribery investigation into the
beauty products company's efforts to develop new markets
S&P 500 companies scheduled to report after the closing bell
include Agilent Technologies Inc, American International
Group, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc and Kraft
Foods Group Inc.