Wall Street finished a volatile session with a loss Wednesday as investors struggled to digest a mix of earnings reports and weighed the...
NEW YORK — Wall Street finished a volatile session with a loss Wednesday as investors struggled to digest a mix of earnings reports and weighed the odds of a year-end rally that would give the flagging stock market a boost.
Disappointing earnings from Boeing and a lower-than-expected holiday-sales forecast from Amazon.com pressured the major indexes for much of the session despite other positive earnings reports. The divergent news from corporations left investors wondering whether the usual “Santa Claus” rally, which boosted stocks for each of the past four years, would take place.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 32.89 to 10,344.98.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, added 8 cents to close at $25.11 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, slid $1.87 to $65.10 after its earnings report indicated sagging sales despite doubling its profit.
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Broader stock indicators also lost ground. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 5.16 to 1,191.38, and the Nasdaq composite index lost 9.40 to 2,100.05.
“It’s been a mixed earnings season so far. For every large company that’s given you good numbers, you’ve had some disappointment from big names,” said Russ Koesterich, senior portfolio manager at Barclays Global Investments in San Francisco. “On top of that, you don’t have any real positive outlooks for the fourth quarter and the Federal Reserve is still hawkish on inflation. So what do you do? You trade around in this range and go nowhere, really.”
Crude-oil futures also fluctuated, contributing to the uncertainty. After rising as high as $63 per barrel, futures fell $1.78 to $60.66 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Bonds slid to their lowest levels since March on persistent concerns about the Federal Reserve’s possible stance on inflation under Ben Bernanke, nominated Monday for the chairmanship. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 4.59 percent from 4.53 percent late Tuesday.