- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 23, 2009

NEW YORK | Investors aren’t giving up on the stock market’s rally, but they’re not making big bets either.

Stocks ended a quiet day mixed Wednesday as traders remained hesitant to push further into the market after a weeklong surge on strong earnings reports.

Wednesday’s modest moves left the market’s recent climb intact. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped less than 0.5 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced.

Investors responded to uneven corporate results. Apple Inc. and Starbucks Inc. jumped after beating analysts’ estimates, but chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and major bank Wells Fargo & Co. fell after reporting disappointing numbers.

The latest climb has pushed the Dow up enough to erase its losses for the year and to its highest level since January. The benchmark S&P; 500 Index is at its highest point since November.

Analysts say it’s not surprising to see the stock market slow its climb as investors raise their expectations. Of the approximately 100 companies in the S&P; 500 Index that had reported earnings by Wednesday, 62 percent topped analysts’ forecasts, according to S&P.;

The Dow fell 34.68, or 0.4 percent, to 8,881.26. The broader S&P; 500 Index slipped 0.51, or 0.1 percent, to 954.07, and the Nasdaq rose 10.18, or 0.5 percent, to 1,926.38, helped by Apple and Starbucks.

Earnings reports directed trading Wednesday. Apple rose $5.23, or 3.5 percent, to $156.74 after robust sales of laptops and iPhones pushed its profit and revenue above what analysts had expected.

Starbucks surged $2.70, or 18.4 percent, to $17.39 after the coffee chain shut stores, laid off workers and cut other costs to produce fiscal third-quarter results that topped expectations.

Wells Fargo reported that its earnings jumped 47 percent in part because of its acquisition of Wachovia Corp. But the company said that losses from bad loans kept rising. The stock fell 95 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $24.40.

Bond prices fell, pushing yields higher. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.55 percent from 3.48 percent late Tuesday.

The Russell 2000 Index of smaller companies rose 3.48, or 0.7 percent, to 528.70.

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