S&P 500 Erases Early Gain as Tech, Financial Shares Slump

U.S. stocks erased gains, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lower for a second day, as a slump in technology and financial shares reversed an earlier rally amid better-than-estimated retail sales.

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Cisco Systems Inc. posted the biggest declines in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The S&P 500 Financials Index slipped 0.1 percent after earlier rising as much as 0.7 percent. Alcoa Inc. retreated 1.6 percent, pacing losses among commodity stocks. Home Depot Inc. increased 3.6 percent after quarterly earnings topped analysts’ estimates.

The S&P 500 dropped less than 0.1 percent to 1,403.93 at 4 p.m. in New York, after earlier rising as much as 0.4 percent. The Dow added 2.71 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 13,172.14. Volume for exchange-listed stocks in the U.S. was about 5.2 billion shares today, 20 percent below the three-month average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The light volume demonstrates there’s just little conviction right now,” Peter Tuz, who helps manage about $800 million as president of Chase Investment Counsel Corp. in Charlottesville, Virginia, said in a telephone interview. “It is a symptomatic of the fact that people are just not that interested in the equity market.”

Stocks rose early in the day after U.S. retail sales climbed more than forecast in July as consumer spending rebounded at department stores, auto dealers and electronics outlets. The 0.8 percent advance, the first gain in four months, followed a 0.7 percent drop in June, Commerce Department figures showed. Economists projected a 0.3 percent rise, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

Producer Prices

A separate report showed wholesale prices increased more than forecast in July, reflecting higher costs for automobiles, cigarettes and pharmaceuticals.

Stocks worldwide advanced earlier after the Federal Statistics Office in Germany said gross domestic product rose 0.3 percent from the first quarter. Economists predicted a 0.2 percent increase, according to the median of 40 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. French GDP was unchanged in the quarter, better than the 0.1 percent decline economists had predicted.

“The market was up earlier on light volume,” said Eric Teal, chief investment officer at First Citizens Bancshares Inc., which manages $4.5 billion in Raleigh, North Carolina, said in a telephone interview. “The economic news has been generally on the uptrend in the last few weeks despite ongoing European concerns. With some of the summer seasonal factors affecting the market, volume’s going to be soft.”

Volatility Index

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index rebounded after four days of losses, climbing 8.4 percent to 14.85. The gauge known as the VIX lost 7.1 percent to 13.70 yesterday, the lowest level since June 2007.

U.S. equity volume yesterday reached the lowest level since at least 2008 excluding holidays. About 4.5 billion shares changed hands on all venues, the lowest level in data compiled by Bloomberg going back four years that excludes the days surrounding New Year’s, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Independence Day.

Hewlett-Packard, the world’s largest maker of personal computers, slid 1.3 percent to $19.36. Cisco, the largest maker of computer-networking gear, lost 1 percent to $17.17. Intel Corp., the world’s largest chipmaker, retreated 0.8 percent to $26.48. Juniper Networks Inc. erased 4.5 percent to $18.07 for the biggest decline in the S&P 500.

Groupon Sinks

Groupon Inc. plunged 27 percent to $5.51, the lowest level since the company’s initial public offering in November. The largest daily-deal website reported second-quarter revenue that missed estimates as economic weakness in Europe curbed online coupon sales. Revenue rose 45 percent to $568.3 million, the Chicago-based company said yesterday. That fell short of the average analyst estimate of $575.3 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Commodity companies lost 0.5 percent for the biggest drop out of 10 groups in the S&P 500. Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminum producer, retreated 1.6 percent to $8.69. The S&P 500 Financials Index slipped 0.1 percent after earlier rising as much as 0.7 percent.

Retailers had the biggest gain out of 24 groups in the S&P 500, climbing 0.9 percent.

Home Depot, the largest U.S. home-improvement retailer, rose 3.6 percent to $54.71 for the biggest rally in the Dow. Sales by stores open at least a year advanced 2.1 percent, the fifth straight quarterly increase, as consumers visited more often and spent more per trip.

Estee Lauder Cos., the maker of Mac and Clinique skin care, added 9.3 percent to $60.13. Profit in the fourth quarter was 17 cents a share, exceeding the average analyst estimate by 1 cent. Revenue during the period was $2.25 billion, beating the average projection of $2.21 billion.

Monster Beverage Corp. climbed 10 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $58.59. The board of directors at the largest U.S. energy drink maker authorized an additional $250 million in buybacks, according to a statement from the company yesterday.

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