Stocks Drop on Ericsson, Boeing Earnings as Apple Shares Surge; Euro Falls

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 0.3 percent to 1,310.96 and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.4 percent at 12:11 p.m. in New York. The Nasdaq-100 Index jumped 0.8 percent to an almost 11-year high on a closing basis as Apple shares climbed 6.6 percent. The yen weakened 0.6 percent against the dollar after the country posted its first annual trade deficit in 31 years. Oil slipped 0.2 percent to $98.73 a barrel, while 10-year Treasury yields lost five basis points to 2.02 percent.

Boeing had the biggest drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after forecasting a smaller 2012 profit, while Ericsson led European shares lower as the world’s largest maker of wireless networks reported profit fell amid slower spending from North American customers. The Federal Reserve today is set to release interest-rate forecasts for the first time.

“It’s going to be a mediocre earnings season,” Russ Koesterich, the San Francisco-based global chief investment strategist for the IShares unit of BlackRock Inc., said in a telephone interview. His firm oversees $3.5 trillion as the world’s largest asset manager. “We’re not going to see robust growth this year and this is being reflected in corporate outlooks. This is going to be a slow recovery.”

Earnings Season

Earnings-per-share have increase 4.3 percent for the 108 companies in the S&P 500 that reported results since Jan. 9, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, a rate that would mark the slowest growth in more than two years.

Boeing Co. slipped 1.6 percent after its forecast reflected rising pension expenses and declining U.S. defense spending, eroding gains from jetliner production increasing to record levels.

Xerox Corp. fell 10 percent, the most since 2009 on a closing basis, after the provider of printers and business services gave earnings forecasts that trailed some analysts’ estimates as companies curb spending.

Apple surged as much as 8.1 to a record $454.54 to boost its market value to more than $420 billion, the largest U.S. company. First-quarter profit surged to $13.1 billion, or $13.87 a share, amid surging demand for the iPhone and iPad. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg on average estimated profit of $10.14 a share.

Nvidia, Illumina

Nvidia Corp. slipped 2.1 percent after the maker of graphics processors cut its fourth-quarter revenue outlook.

Illumina Inc. surged 44 percent after Roche Holding AG offered about $5.7 billion in cash for the provider of genetic- analysis tools, the third time the Swiss drugmaker has made a hostile bid for a U.S. company since 2007.

Ericsson tumbled 14 percent and Novartis, Europe’s biggest drugmaker by sales, sank 2.5 percent. ARM Holdings Plc, the U.K. owner of chip technology used in Apple’s iPhone and iPad, rose 3 percent.

Australia’s dollar strengthened against 13 of its 16 counterparts on speculation the nation’s central bank may have less scope to cut borrowing costs after core inflation accelerated.

The pound lost 0.4 percent to $1.5563. The euro slipped 0.5 percent to $1.2976 as the European Central Bank was said to oppose restructuring its Greek bond holdings.

’Must Survive’

Billionaire George Soros said “the euro must survive because the alternative, a breakup, would cause a meltdown that Europe, the world, can’t afford,” Newsweek Magazine reported, citing an interview in New York before his participation at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The Portuguese five-year note yield climbed to a record 18.93 percent, while the yield on the Italian 10-year bond jumped six basis points.

The German 10-year bund yield slipped five basis points, falling for the first time in five days. Germany got bids for 5.042 billion euros ($6.6 billion) of 30-year bonds, more than the maximum sales target of 3 billion euros, the Bundesbank said in a statement today. The debt agency accepted bids for 2.458 billion euros at average yield of 2.62 percent.

The yield on the U.S. five-year Treasury note fell five basis point to 0.85 percent before the government sells $35 billion of similar-maturity securities.

Obama called on Congress to require the highest U.S. earners to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes, building on his election-year push for what he terms economic fairness. He also vowed to get tough on unfair trade practices by nations such as China, and said the U.S. should provide aid to help domestic companies compete.


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