Stocks finished mixed in a choppy trading session Wednesday, as Apple weighed on the tech sector following the iPhone maker's rare earnings miss. But the Dow finished higher, snapping a three-day losing streak.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 58.73 points, or 0.47 percent, to finish at 12,676.05, led by Boeing and AT&T.
The S&P 500 slid 0.42 points, or 0.03 percent, to end at 1,337.89. The tech-heavy Nasdaq dipped 8.75 points, or 0.31 percent, to close at 2,854.24. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, finished below 20.
Among the key S&P sectors, telecoms ended higher, while techs sagged.
“Markets remain very sensitive to the possibility that we might have some more policy action from the central banks,” said Paul Christopher, chief international investment strategist, at Wells Fargo Advisors on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “[While] some coordinated action is a possibility and would take the global markets up with a positive surprise, that’s not going to be any kind of solution.”
Apple came off its lows but was still down more than 3 percent after the iPhone maker missed quarterly resultsby a wide margin and handed in current-quarter guidance that disappointed analysts. In addition, at least six brokerages cut their price targets on the firm. Apple's weak results will likely weigh on the tech sector. (Read More: Trading Apple's Miss)
- Slideshow: Top Apple-Related Stocks
Among other earnings, Caterpillar topped Wall Street's profit expectationsand boosted its 2012 earnings forecast. Shares toggled in and out of negative territory in choppy trading following comments from the company's conference call that full-year sales will be lower than expected from Buycrus and worries over a weak underground coal market.
Fellow Dow component Boeing posted earnings that beat estimatesas gains in airplane deliveries trumped higher pension costs.
PepsiCo posted better-than-expected earnings, thanks to price increases, and maintained its full-year outlook.
Meanwhile, ConocoPhillips reported a decline in earnings, hurt by lower energy prices and a drop in output.
Netflix plunged more than 20 percent after the movie-streaming company issued a cautious subscriber outlook and said a push into a fourth international market in the fourth quarter will lead to a loss. But the company still topped earnings expectations. At least four brokerages lowered their price targets on the firm. Netflix shares have dropped almost 50 percent in the last six months.
Symantec jumped after the security-software maker unexpectedly ousted its CEO Enrique Salem, who had been under heavy criticism from investors for financial disappointments. Separately, the company announced a quarterly outlook that was below projections.
Worries over the euro zone subsided, at least temporarily, after ECB policymaker Ewald Nowotny raised the prospect of steps that could boost the firepower of the euro zone's new bailout fund.
But Spain's 10-year yield continued to rise, hitting a new record high of 7.75 percent, amid worries the country will need a full-scale bailout. And Germany's business confidence index fell for a third-consecutive month in July, touching the lowest level in more than two years.
“It’s clear that things are slowing down in the U.S. and around the world,” said John Fox, co-manager of the FAM Value Fund. “There’s been no change in Europe and economic reports in the U.S. have been mixed.”
On the economic front, new home sales dropped 8.4 percentin June to a seasonally adjusted 350,000-unite annual rate, according to the Commerce Department. The percent decline was the biggest in more than a year.
Weekly mortgage applications gained last week as record-low interest rates fueled demand for refinancing, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Treasury prices were flat after the government auctioned $35 billion in 5-year notes at a high yield of 0.584 percent and bid-to-cover of 2.71.
—By CNBC’s JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
Coming Up This Week:
THURSDAY: Durable goods orders, jobless claims, pending home sales, 7-yr note auction, CFTC emergency meeting; Earnings from AstraZeneca, ExxonMobil, 3M, Credit Suisse, Dow Chemical, Pulte, Sprint, Amazon.com, Amgen, Facebook, Expedia, Starbucks
FRIDAY: GDP, consumer sentiment, summer Olympics start, 100 days to election; Earnings from Chevron, Merck, Barclays, DR Horton
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