Wall Street flat as rally runs out of steam, results eyed
By Angela Moon | February 7, 2013 3:42 AM EST
U.S. stocks were little changed in late morning trading on Wednesday as investors awaited fresh trading incentives after recent rallies took the S&P 500 to five-year highs.
Transportation stocks were among the worst performers, weighed down by a 10-percent drop in CH Robinson Worldwide
The Dow Jones Transportation index <.DJT> shed 0.5 percent after closing at a record high Tuesday for a gain of more than 10 percent in 2013.
A 6-percent advance this year so far has lifted the benchmark S&P 500 index to its highest since December 2007, while the Dow <.DJI> briefly climbed above 14,000 recently, making it a challenge for investors to continue pushing the equity market upward in the absence of strong catalysts.
"Overall, we believe that the next near-term market dip should provide an opportunity to buy stocks ahead of rallies higher in the coming months, but we are skeptical about the long-term sustainability of these gains due to the maturing age of the bull market," said Ari Wald, equity research analyst at C&CoPrinceRidge in New York.
Walt Disney Co
According to Thomson Reuters data through Wednesday morning, of 301 companies in the S&P 500 <.SPX> that have reported earnings, 68.1 percent have exceeded analysts' expectations, above a 62 percent average since 1994 and 65 percent over the past four quarters. In terms of revenue, 65.8 percent of companies have topped forecasts.
Looking ahead, fourth-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to grow 4.7 percent, according to the data, above a 1.9 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 11.25 points, or 0.08 percent, at 13,968.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 0.05 points, or 0.00 percent, at 1,511.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 2.69 points, or 0.08 percent, at 3,174.27.
The benchmark S&P index rose 1.04 percent Tuesday, its biggest percentage gain since a 2.5-percent advance on January 2, when legislators sidestepped a "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax hikes that could have hurt a fragile U.S. economic recovery.
Ralph Lauren Corp
Time Warner Inc
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)