U.S. stocks were little changed, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index pared an earlier rally, as a slump in technology shares tempered optimism euro-area leaders will make progress in resolving the region’s crisis.
Equities pared gains as Apple Inc. (AAPL) fell 1.9 percent after setting a record for U.S. market value yesterday, dragging down technology companies as a group. Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN) rose 18 percent after posting second-quarter earnings that topped analysts’ estimates. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) led gains in commodity stocks, increasing 3.6 percent as prices for metals rallied.
About four stocks advanced for every three that fell in the U.S. The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 percent to 1,418.67 at 1:18 p.m. in New York. The index earlier traded above a four-year closing high of 1,419.04 reached on April 2. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8.44 points, or 0.1 percent, to 13,263.20, reversing a gain of as much as 59 points that sent it above its highest close since 2007. Trading in S&P 500 companies was in-line with the 30-day average at this time of day.
The S&P 500 has climbed 11 percent since June 1, amid investor optimism that global central banks will take actions to stimulate growth. At the same time, trading volume and volatility have dropped this month as vacationing traders await policy clues from the Federal Reserve’s annual summit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, beginning Aug. 30 and a European Central Bank meeting in September.
Economic reports that exceeded economists’ estimates and second-quarter earnings have also boosted stocks. The Citigroup Economic Surprise Index for the U.S., which tracks how much data is beating or missing estimates, rebounded to minus 15.3 after hitting a low of minus 65.3 in July. While earnings growth for S&P 500 companies in the second quarter was the weakest since 2009, about 72 percent posted profits that beat analysts’ projections, the 14th straight quarter earnings topped estimates.
Stocks worldwide rose earlier today on mounting speculation leaders will make progress on Greece’s debt crisis this week. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the group of euro-area finance ministers, visits Athens tomorrow to listen to a request by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras for a two- year extension to the country’s fiscal-adjustment program. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in Berlin on Aug. 23.
Concessions are possible for Greece so long as Samaras shows a willingness to meet the main targets set out in his country’s bailout program, a senior lawmaker with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party said.
“People are feeling more confident about the euro debt concerns being better contained, and the positive action in the market from last week has become somewhat self-fulfilling for now,