US Markets

Dow closes higher as Boeing gains offset Apple's fall; financials lead

Pisani: Tech and energy sectors down on Apple, oil

U.S. stock closed mostly lower on Wednesday as earnings season continued, while solid economic data helped financials and oil extended its losing streak despite bullish supply data.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 30 points after dropping 106.97 points at session lows, with Boeing contributing gains to the tune of 41 points, offsetting sharp losses in Apple, which took about 17 points off the index.

The S&P 500 momentarily eked above breakeven before closing approximately 0.15 percent lower, with real estate falling 1.3 percent to lead decliners while industrials and financials outperformed. The Nasdaq lagged, falling 0.63 percent as Apple shed about 2.25 percent.

U.S. crude settled 1.56 percent lower at $49.18 per barrel, after the Energy Information Administration reported a drawdown of nearly 600,000 barrels. WTI briefly traded higher following the EIA's release, before retreating again.

"Despite all the rhetoric that's coming out of OPEC, the fact of the matter is the [oil] market is rebalancing itself," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

In economic news, the October services PMI index jumped to 54.8 from 52.3, while new home sales rose 3.1 percent in September. Mortgage applications fell 4.1 percent last week, despite lower mortgage rates.

Economic data have been in focus for investors as the Federal Reserve is schedule to meet next week. While the central bank is not expected to make any changes to its monetary policy during that meeting, it is largely expected to raise interest rates in December.

Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Getty Images

U.S. Treasurys fell on Wednesday, with the two-year note yield near 0.88 percent and the benchmark 10-year note yield around 1.79 percent. "We can continue to analyze earnings and the economic fundamentals every which way to try to figure out where stocks go but let's be honest, it's all about where rates go in the monetary world we live in," said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, in a note.

The U.S. dollar fell against a basket of currencies a day after hitting its highest level since February, with the euro near $1.09 and the yen around 104.5.

Apple posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit Tuesday after the close, but fell just shy of expectations on sales. The company's cash hoard also hit a record of $238 billion.

"It looked like a good quarter, but obviously there were some things that investors didn't like, particularly the fall in its China business," said Trip Miller, managing partner at Gullane Capital Partners. He also said, as an investor in the company, he'd like to see Apple diversify its revenue stream. "I just wonder how long [the iPhone] can be the 'it' phone."

Stocks have held in a very tight range recently, with the S&P closing 1 percent higher or lower just once over the past 24 sessions before Wednesday. The index had also moved just 1.2 percent over the past three months as of Tuesday's close.

Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank, said it's important for earnings to improve so the S&P 500's high valuations can be justified. "The earnings continue to be a little more solid than we expected. The problem is they're not showing solid growth," he said. According to FactSet, S&P's price-to-earnings ratio was 19.65 entering Wednesday's session.

Boeing and Coca-Cola, two other Dow components, also posted results Wednesday that beat estimates on both the top and bottom line. Other firms that reported Wednesday include Six Flags, Mondelez and Biogen.

"Things have softened up a bit, but I think it will continue to be a net positive quarter for earnings" relative to expectations, said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab.

Overseas, European equities were dragged lower by falling oil prices, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index dropping 0.38 percent. In Asia-Pacific, stocks were lead lower by Australian shares, as the ASX 200 fell 1.53 percent.

Major U.S. Indexes

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 30.06 points, or 0.17 percent, to close at 18,199.33, with Boeing leading advancers and Apple the top decliner.

The fell 3.73 points, or 0.17 percent, to end at 2,139.43, with real estate leading seven sectors lower and financials the top riser.

The Nasdaq dropped 33.13 points, or 0.63 percent, to close at 5,250.27.

About nine stocks declined for every five advancers at the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 866.15 million and a composite volume of 3.681 billion at the close.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded higher, near 14.3.

Gold futures for December delivery fell $7 to settle at $1,266.60 per ounce.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the S&P has closed 1 percent higher or lower just once over the past 24 sessions.

On tap this week:


Earnings: Samsung Electronics, Tesla Motors, Texas Instruments, F5 Networks, Arch Capital, Murphy Oil, Newmont Mining, NXP Semiconductor, Public Storage, Suncor, VMWare, Western Digital, Whiting Petroleum, Buffalo Wild Wings, Cheesecake Factory, Extra Space Storage, Groupon, Rent-a-Center, Shutterfly, Raymond James



BTB: Barclays, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Colgate-Palmolive, ConocoPhillips, Deutsche Bank, Dow Chemical, Ford, UPS, Volkswagen, Aetna, Alexion Pharma, Autoliv, Blackstone, Borg Warner, CBRE Group, CME Group, Dr. Pepper Snapple, Gannett, International Paper, Invesco, L-3 Communications, Marathon Petroleum, National Oilwell Varco, Nokia, Nomura Holdings, Potash, Praxair, Raytheon, Sirius XM Radio, Stanley Black & Decker, T. Rowe Price, Thermo Fisher, Brunswick, Cabela's, Cliffs Natural Resources, GNC Holdings, Lazard, Old Dominion Freight Line, Pinnacle Foods, Sealed Air

ATB: Alphabet,, Baidu, Amgen, Deckers Outdoor, Aflac, Digital Realty Trust, Cirrus Logic, Columbia Sportswear, Cypress Semiconductor, Eldorado Gold, Flex, Fortinet, Federated Investors, VeriSign, Yamana Gold

8:30 a.m.: Jobless claims

8:30 a.m.: Durable goods

10 a.m.: Pending home sales

10 a.m.: Housing vacancies

11 a.m.: Kansas City Fed Survey

1 p.m.: $28 billion seven-year Treasury note auction


Earnings: Chevron, Exxon Mobil, A-B InBev, MasterCard, AbbVie, UBS, Ambev, BNP Paribas, Sanofi, AutoNation, Cabot Oil & Gas, Hershey, Phillips 66, Shire, Weyerhaeuser, Xerox, Apollo Global Management, Bloomin' Brands, CBOE Holdings, Legg Mason, Oaktree Capital, Tenneco

8:30 a.m.: Q3 GDP, advance

8:30 a.m.: Employment cost index

10 a.m.: Consumer sentiment

*All times Eastern. Planner subject to change.