Policy: Economy

US stocks edge lower after a six-day rise

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Photo - Trader Gregory Rowe, left, and specialist Frank Masiello work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The stock market slipped Wednesday after rallying for six straight days as investors worked through another round of quarterly earnings reports from U.S. companies. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trader Gregory Rowe, left, and specialist Frank Masiello work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The stock market slipped Wednesday after rallying for six straight days as investors worked through another round of quarterly earnings reports from U.S. companies. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market slipped Wednesday, after rising for six straight days, as investors worked through another round of quarterly earnings reports from U.S. companies. Intuitive Surgical was among those announcing disappointed results. A worse-than-expected report on the housing market also weighed on the broader market.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell three points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,876 as of 3:12 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average fell eight points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 16,506 and the Nasdaq composite lost 28 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,132.

ROBOT REPAIR: Surgical robot maker Intuitive Surgical dropped $46.60, or 11 percent, to $375.14 after a drop in first-quarter earnings. Intuitive Surgical sold only half has many robots in the last quarter as it did in the same period a year earlier. The company warned two weeks ago that earnings would come in far below expectations, causing its stock to fall sharply from a recent high of $540.63 reached April 3.

FLYING HIGHER: Airline stocks were among the biggest advancers. Delta Air Lines rose $1.64, or 5 percent, to $36.60. Delta's first-quarter earnings climbed after the company filled more seats on planes and paid less for fuel. Plane maker Boeing rose $2.76, or 2.2 percent, to $130.31. Its quarterly earnings beat expectations as its commercial jet production increased.

A SIX-DAY RALLY FADES: The S&P 500 had risen six days in a row before Wednesday. It is not unusual for the stock market to pause after such a rally, investors said.

"The market, even with those six days of gains, is still struggling to choose a direction," said Joseph Tanious, a global market strategist with J.P. Morgan Funds.

THE $84,000 PILL: Gilead Sciences rose $1.83, or 2.5 percent, to $74.65 after the company reported a surge in first-quarter earnings. Gilead's drug Sovaldi, a new treatment for Hepatitis C, had $2.3 billion in sales in the first quarter alone, which beat the record for any drug in its first whole year on the market. While Sovaldi has a 90 percent success rate in curing Hepatitis C, the drug has a price of $1,000 per pill, or around $84,000 for a typical course of treatment.

HOUSING STALL: The Commerce Department said that new home sales fell 15 percent in March, their worst level in nearly a year. The number of home sold slowed to an annual rate of 384,000, well below economists' forecasts of 450,000. The news hit homebuilder stocks hard. KB Home fell 24 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $16.30 and Ryland Group fell $1.06, or 2.8 percent, to $37.13.

GAME OF SHOWS: Netflix fell $17.90, or 4.8 percent, to $355. Time Warner and Amazon.com announced that HBO's award-winning shows such as "The Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under" would be available exclusively for Amazon Prime subscribers, a big loss for Netflix. HBO had been one of the biggest holdouts in bringing its content to streaming video services. Time Warner rose $1.02 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $65.94.

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