Thursday 15th May 2014
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Wall Street slipped from record highs as some investors took the opportunity to lock in profits on a day without immediate impetus to drive valuations higher and disappointing corporate results such as from Deere.
With about an hour of trading left in the day in New York, the Dow slid 0.38 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.19 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.23 percent. Both the Dow and S&P 500 closed at record highs on Tuesday.
Shares of IBM and Walt Disney dropped, down 1.5 percent and 1.3 percent respectively, propelling the Dow lower.
The latest quarterly earnings season is still in full swing. While the majority has managed to meet or exceed the mark so far, Deere was not among them, at least not when it came to the outlook.
Shares of Deere dropped, last 2.2 percent weaker, after the company downgraded its forecast for its full-year sales, overshadowing quarterly profit that bettered estimates.
Shares of Macy's initially rose, touching US$58.51 earlier in the session before last trading at US$57.81, after the company kept its full-year outlook despite a surprise drop in quarterly sales.
"Overall, business trends were soft in January through March, with the exception of the Valentine's Day shopping period. The trend improved in April when the weather began to turn in northern climate zones," said Terry Lundgren, Macy's chief executive officer, in a statement.
"We see this as a good sign moving forward into the second quarter," Lundgren said. "We continue to have a positive outlook for 2014 and are reaffirming the full-year guidance we provided in January."
Wal-Mart is set to report its latest quarterly earnings before the stock market opens on Thursday.
"Earnings have been OK, but now we're in a slow period," Bill Schultz, chief investment officer at McQueen Ball & Associates in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, told Bloomberg News. "We're going to have to see earnings pick up to get us to the next level on stocks."
Meanwhile, Oliver Pursche, president of Gary Goldberg Financial Services in Suffern, New York, told Reuters that the S&P's record didn't mean it was overvalued, but that "a 5-percent correction is always possible."
Investors will eye Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen who is scheduled to speak in Washington on Thursday. In her testimony to Congress last week, Yellen pointed to an improving US economic outlook yet warned about risks such as the American housing sector.
New York Fed President William Dudley is also set to speak on Thursday, in New York.
Europe's Stoxx 600 Index finished the session at 341.59, barely budging from the previous close, as did Germany's DAX, which closed at 9,754.39. France's CAC 40 slipped 0.1 percent. The UK's FTSE 100 eked out a 0.1 percent gain.
On the commodity front, palladium and platinum prices rose amid concern that supplies will be disrupted in South Africa because of a labour dispute.
"Workers have been prevented by force from returning to the mines," Commerzbank analysts wrote in a note, Bloomberg News reported. "This will doubtless make it impossible for production to be resumed and for the time being will continue to drive up platinum and palladium prices."
Gold and silver prices also climbed.
"It's the strength in industrial metals that is lifting gold and silver," Saxo Bank head of commodity strategy Ole Hansen told Reuters.
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