Stocks catch breath after weaker confidence data, earnings

"There is uncertainty about how fast the rally can go and how far it can go," said Robert Phillips, a managing director at Spectrum Management Group of Raymond James & Associates.

Earnings results tempered investors' optimism. Office Depot said consumers and small businesses continued to pare spending, especially on pricier items like furniture and computers. The office-supply chain tumbled 97 cents, or 18.1%, to $4.38.

Coach fell 38 cents, or 1.3%, to $28.05 after the company reported that its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings dropped 32%.

Not all corporate news was downbeat. Textron jumped $1.96, or 17.6%, to $13.11 after the maker of Cessna planes, Bell helicopters and turf maintenance equipment posted a profit excluding charges. Analysts had expected a loss.

Investors welcomed dealmaking in the tech industry. The willingness of companies to pursue rivals is seen as a sign of confidence in the economy.

IBM agreed to acquire software maker SPSS for $1.2 billion. SPSS jumped $14.36, or 40.9%, to $49.45, while IBM slipped 35 cents to $117.28.

Sprint Nextel intensified its focus on the market for prepaid cellphone service by announcing a $483 million agreement to scoop up Virgin Mobile USA. Virgin Mobile rose $1.07, or 25.4%, to $5.28 and Sprint edged down 4 cents to $4.59.

The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices fell.

Light, sweet crude fell $1.15 to $67.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The drop in oil hit a range of energy stocks.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 1.07, or 0.2%, to 551.95.

Overseas, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 1.3%, Germany's DAX index lost 1.5%, and France's CAC-40 slid 1.2%. Japan's Nikkei stock average slipped less than 0.1%.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...