Apple lifts Nasdaq in cautious market

January 25th, 20125:13 pm @


Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:41am EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Dow and SP 500 fell on Wednesday on concerns over Greek debt talks, stalling a strong rally from last year, but the Nasdaq rose on Apple’s forecast-beating results.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) was a standout in what has otherwise been a fairly lackluster earnings season. So far, 58 percent of companies have beat forecasts while at this stage in past earnings seasons, 70 percent topped estimates.

After weeks of bargaining, deadlocks and an intervention by euro zone ministers, Greece and its bondholders may resume talks as soon as next week, avoiding a messy default.

The euro fell from session highs against the dollar on worries the European Central Bank may need to take losses on its Greek bond holdings. A high correlation between stocks and the euro has diminished in recent weeks but is apt to reassert itself in times of concern about Europe.

“We are getting a taste of what we suffered through last year where day-to-day we had solid fundamental improvement from the bottom up but bigger-picture concerns will tend to undermine that progress,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer, Harris Private Bank in Chicago.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI dropped 67.51 points, or 0.53 percent, at 12,608.24. The Standard Poor’s 500 Index .SPX was down 3.09 points, or 0.24 percent, at 1,311.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 8.27 points, or 0.30 percent, at 2,794.91.

Apple was up 6.2 percent to $446.40, a new record high, after its quarterly results blew past expectations as consumers snapped up near-unprecedented numbers of iPhones and iPads, sending its shares into record territory.

Planemaker Boeing Co’s (BA.N) quarterly profit rose on stronger commercial airplane deliveries, but its 2012 earnings forecast was lower than expected and its shares fell 3.1 percent to $73.

Both United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) and Rockwell Automation Inc (ROK.N) slightly missed revenue forecasts, with earnings growth reflecting a focus on cost controls. United Tech shares fell 1.4 percent to $76.69 and Rockwell dropped 4.7 percent to $77.89.

Another diversified manufacturer, Textron Inc (TXT.N), was up nearly 15 percent to $24.85 after it raised its 2012 profit forecast.

The SP 500 has rallied over 20 percent since lows in October of last year on signs of improvement in the U.S. economy and an easing of credit conditions in Europe.

Corning Inc (GLW.N) fell 10 percent to $13.18 as manufacturers cut back on the production of big-screen televisions that use the company’s specialty glass.

The U.S. Federal Reserve, holding a two-day policy meeting that ends later Wednesday, looks set to keep monetary policy on hold even as it releases forecasts expected to show interest rates will be near zero for at least two more years.

Roche Holding AG (ROG.VX) made a hostile bid for U.S. gene sequencing company Illumina Inc (ILMN.O), a major play by the Swiss drugmaker into the gene technology field. Illumina rose 44.3 percent to $54.40.

(Reporting By Edward Krudy; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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