Mid-Day Update: Murky 2012 Guidance Keeps Stocks Grounded Wednesday; Tech Gains on Apple Results

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Stocks are mostly lower at mid-day although technology issues are a notable exception, rising briskly on the strength of Apple Inc.'s ( AAPL ) impressive earnings performance.

Cautious outlooks for the upcoming year offered by several companies posting financial results today appear to be determining trader attitudes. Drug-maker Novartis ( NVS ) warned it expects little revenue growth during 2012, holding near the $58.57 billion in sales NVS generated during 2011.

Aircraft-builder Boeing ( BA ) likewise soured moods when it forecast 2012 EPS between $4.05 and $4.25, offset by $0.83 per share of pension expenses on revenues of $1 billion either side of $79 billion. The Street view ex items sees earnings of $4.96 per share and revenue of $78.5 billion.

Tech stocks are resisting the downward pressure after AAPL obliterated Wall Street expectations with its Q1 results, reporting earnings of $13.87 a share on $46.33 billion in revenues. CA Technologies ( CA ) also is lifting spirits today after last night announcing a five-fold increase in its annual dividend as part of $2.5 billion capital allocation program, which also has CA buying back up to $1.5 billion in stock over the next 14 months.

In economic news, pending home sales decreased 3.5% in December, more than projected and following a 7.3% gain the prior month, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today. Economists forecast a 1% drop, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.

Also working to keep stocks lower today was below-forecast gross domestic product growth during Q4 in the United Kingdom, with the Office for National Statistics reporting GDP contracted at an 0.2% pace. The consensus estimate was for a fall of 0.1% in quarter-on-quarter growth.

The Federal Reserve Board of Governors will issue its latest statement on interest rates and economic growth at 12:30 p.m. ET. No change in the Fed's near-zero rate policy is unexpected although the markets will be watching for changes in the central bank's assessment of U.S. and global conditions. Chairman Ben Bernanke will take questions from reporters at 2 p.m. ET.

Commodities are higher this afternoon, with crude oil up about 40 cents at $99.35 a barrel in NYMEX trading. Brent crude also is edging higher, adding about 5 cents to reach $110.08 a barrel at mid-day. Gold has turned lower in recent minutes at $1,658.50 an ounce, down $6.50 after trading slightly higher through most of the morning.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index down 32.28 (-0.41%) at 7,808.37.

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 48.14 (-0.38%) at 12,627.61.

S&P 500 down 2.10 (-0.16%) at 1,312.55.

NASDAQ Composite up 16.49 (+0.59%) at 2,803.13.

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei up 1.12%.

Hang Seng closed.

Shanghai Composite closed.

FTSE-100 down 0.60%.

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy down 85.81 (-0.66%) at 12,859.52.

NYSE Financial down 15.30 (-0.35%) at 4,407.06.

NYSE Health Care down 29.75 (-0.42%) at 7,098.58.

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 13.51 (+1.17%) at 1,170.50.

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) ILMN, (+43%) Roche makes $5.7 billion hostile bid for biotech.

(+) LCC, (+14.8%) Airline reports stronger-than-expected Q4 results.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) XRX, (-9.6%) Q4 earnings match estimates but revenues were a bit shy.

(-) YHOO, (-1.1%) Q4 results met Street but Q1 guidance did little to cheer.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , BA , CA , NVS

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