New York - US stocks closed mixed on Wednesday as investors digested strong earnings reports from Dow members Boeing and Caterpillar and disappointing results from Apple.
Weaker-than-expected numbers on new-home sales also weighed on sentiment.
Lifted by industrial stocks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 blue-chip stocks finished at 12,676.05, up 58.73 points.
The S&P 500-stock index ended virtually flat, down 0.42 point at 1,337.89.
The tech-rich Nasdaq dropped 8.75 points to 2,854.24.
Trade was "choppy" as investors weighed "a full plate of earnings reports and data from the housing market," Charles Schwab & Co. analysts said.
Sales of newly built single-family homes fell 8.4% in June, to an annual rate of 350 000, the Commerce Department reported. Expectations were for a rate of 373 000.
Analysts noted that the numbers were volatile month-over-month, but the second quarter marked the third straight gain amid signs of recovery in the distressed market.
Shares of Apple slumped 4.3% on the Nasdaq.
The consumer electronics giant reported fiscal third-quarter earnings and revenue that missed estimates, in part as iPhone customers held off purchases ahead of the release of a new model.
Caterpillar climbed 1.4% after the world's largest construction and mining equipment maker reported record second-quarter earnings and revenue that soundly beat expectations and raised its 2012 earnings outlook.
Boeing leaped 2.8% after the aerospace giant's second-quarter earnings and revenue beat estimates. The company also raised its full-year earnings forecast and announced an Aeromexico commitment to buy 100 planes in a $10.8bn deal at list prices.
Ford Motor fell almost 1.0% after reporting a second-quarter profit slump on losses in Europe and overseas.
Online movie business Netflix plunged 23.4% after issuing dismal quarterly results.
On Tuesday, the Dow posted its third day of triple-digit losses as Europe's sovereign debt woes weighed, dropping 0.8%. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq each fell 0.9%.
Bond prices were mixed. The 10-year Treasury yield ticked up to 1.41% from 1.40% on Tuesday, while the 30-year was unchanged at 2.47%. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.