NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes were mostly higher in late-morning trading Wednesday as investors weighed positive earnings in the technology sector against disappointing news out of aircraft giant Boeing and the appliance maker Whirlpool. Biotechnology stocks were among the biggest gainers.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,104 as of 11:21 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose four points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,988 and the Nasdaq composite rose 18 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,474.
BIG TECH: Apple reported higher quarterly profits after the market closed Tuesday, topping analysts’ estimates. Sales of iPads slipped, but iPhone shipments increased 13 percent over the same period a year earlier. Apple rose $2.82, or 3 percent, to $97.54.
NEED A REPAIR MAN: Appliance maker Whirlpool fell $1.25, or 1 percent, to $141.95 after the company’s earnings came in well short of analysts’ expectations. The company reported an adjusted profit of $2.62 per share compared with the $2.88 expected by analysts.
NO LIFT: Boeing fell $2.92, or 2 percent, to $126.83, the biggest decline in the Dow, after the aircraft maker reported revenue that didn’t match analysts’ expectations.
TURNING INWARD: Investors are focusing their attention on U.S. corporations this week, instead of the geopolitical turmoil in Israel and Ukraine. However, strategists say that with markets trading at near all-time highs, any bad news could be worrisome for U.S. stocks.
“Geopolitical flare-ups, European bank-related market jitters, today’s stretched valuations and relatively low market volatility leave (the market) vulnerable to bad news,” Blackrock’s Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich, wrote in a note to investors.
BIOTECH SOARS: Shares of Puma Biotechnology, a drug development company, shot up more than 275 percent Wednesday after the company disclosed positive trial results for an experimental breast cancer drug. Puma rose $165.80, or 281 percent, to $224.63. Biogen Idec rose $31.15, or 10 percent, to $334.74 after the company’s quarterly results came in above investors’ expectations.
BONDS AND OIL: Prices for U.S. government bonds rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped to 2.46 percent from 2.47 percent late Tuesday. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 16 cents to $102.55 a barrel.