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US stocks mixed on profit worries

Sep 19 2012 07:44 AFP

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New York - US stocks closed mixed on Tuesday as the aura of the Federal Reserve's new QE3 stimulus wore off and worries about company profits were heightened by FedEx's downbeat earnings outlook.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out an 11.54-point gain to finish at 13,564.64.

The S&P 500, a broad measure of the markets, lost 1.87 points at 1,459.32, while the tech-rich Nasdaq dipped 0.87 point to 3,177.80.

"Despite an unexpected rise in homebuilder sentiment to the highest level in over six years, US equities finished mixed and near the flatline after a choppy day of trading, as investors appeared to be looking for something to grasp onto that could spark some sort of movement," Charles Schwab & Co. analysts said.

Shipping giant FedEx, considered a bellwether of the global economy, turned in a better-than-expected fiscal first quarter but cut its forecast for this year and next, citing weak global economic conditions. FedEx shares skidded 3.1%.

Apple topped $700 for the first time in regular trade, a day after the Silicon Valley firm said it received more than two million orders for its new iPhone 5 in just 24 hours.

Apple shares rose as high as $702.33 before closing at $701.91, making the world's largest company by market capitalisation worth almost $658bn.

Downgrades hit the shares of Alcoa, AMD, and Abbott Laboratories, but losses were widespread on the trading boards.

Alcoa fell 0.9% after being downgraded to "hold" by analysts at Jefferies.

AMD, whose chief financial officer announced he was resigning, plunged 9.7% as BOM Capital Markets cut its earnings forecast for the chip maker.

Graphic chip specialist Nvidia was up 0.7% despite being cut to "sector perform" by RBC analysts, while Abbott Laboratories lost 0.3%following Leerink Swann's downgrade.

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.81% from 1.84% on Monday, while the 30-year was unchanged at 3.03%. Bond yields move inversely to prices.


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