COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

S&P 500 rises to record on Apple results; Boeing drags down Dow

The stock market was mixed Wednesday as investors continue to digest corporate earnings reports for the second quarter.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 26.91 points to 17,086.63. The Nasdaq composite index gained 17.68 points to 4,473.70 and the S&P 500 stock index was up 3.48 points to 1,987.01, a new high.

Several key earnings reports released after the close of trading will have an influence on Thursday. Among the important reports were updates from Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) and Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB).

Concerns about oil supplies sent crude prices up 73 cents to $103.12 a barrel. Gold fell $1.60 to $1,304.70 an ounce.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose to a high, as Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) boosted technology companies.

Apple added 2.6 percent to $97.19. The company stoked anticipation for new devices on a conference call, with CEO Tim Cook talking about an “incredible pipeline” that “we can’t wait to show you.”

Biogen Idec Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) rallied 11 percent after raising its full-year forecast, while Intuitive Surgical Inc. (Nasdaq: ISRG) jumped 18 percent as results topped estimates.

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA)’s results dragged the Dow Jones industrial average lower. Boeing sank 2.3 percent as a cost for a tanker rekindled concern the plane maker would struggle with a new aircraft program.

The S&P 500 rose Tuesday after inflation data signaled the Federal Reserve won’t be compelled to raise interest rates in the near future and earnings reports boosted optimism about the economy.

Chairwoman Janet Yellen has said rates will stay low for a “considerable time” after the central bank stops its monthly bond purchases. It is on track to end them in October.

The Fed may have scope to keep interest rates at zero for longer than investors anticipate as inflation stays muted and a 2014 slowdown prolongs the labor-market recovery, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday.

The IMF cut its U.S. growth forecast for this year to 1.7 percent from 2 percent predicted in June, citing a first-quarter contraction.

Investors are also watching developments in Ukraine, where the Defense Ministry on Wednesday said rebels downed two government fighters.

The European Union on Tuesday threatened to restrict Russia’s access to capital markets and sensitive energy and defense technologies unless President Vladimir Putin expedites a probe into the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane.

Intuitive Surgical rallied 18 percent, the biggest gain in the index and its steepest rise in five years. The maker of robotics used in surgeries reported profit that surpassed analysts’ estimates.

Biogen Idec jumped 11 percent. The world’s biggest maker of multiple sclerosis drugs raised its 2014 profit forecast after quarterly results beat forecasts.

Puma Biotechnology Inc. (NYSE: PBYI) surged 295 percent. The company said a clinical trial of its experimental drug blocked the return of breast cancer in women with a type of early-stage disease.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) was little changed near a 14-year high. The company’s main software business topped estimates, benefiting from improving corporate demand for computers and software delivered over the Web.

Facebook rose 0.8 percent to $71.89 in late trading. The operator of the world’s biggest social networking website reported quarterly results that surpassed estimates. Facebook closed the regular session up 2.9 percent to the highest in four months.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) rose 3.9 percent. The company benefited from strong domestic demand to post profit that topped estimates. Delta is the first U.S.-based carrier to report earnings for the traditionally strong second quarter.

Boeing sank 2.3 percent for the steepest decline in the Dow. The world’s biggest plane maker took the after-tax charge related to development of the KC-46A military tanker. It also raised its full-year profit forecast, as it reaps gains from faster production that is driving jetliner deliveries to record levels.

Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) slipped 1.6 percent. The chipmaker reported earnings that surpassed estimates.

Juniper (NYSE: JNPR) Networks Inc. dropped 9.6 percent. The network-infrastructure company gave a forecast for third-quarter revenue and profit that fell short of analysts’ estimates amid a slowdown in sales of networking equipment to phone companies.

Xilinx Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX) tumbled 14 percent for the biggest drop in the S&P 500. The maker of microprocessors use in phone networks said it expects sales to remain little changed or fall as much as 4 percent in the quarter through September.

— Bloomberg contributed to this report.

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