S&P 500 Falls After Six-Day Rally Amid Earnings, Data

U.S. stocks declined, halting the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s longest winning streak since September, after disappointing earnings reports from AT&T Inc. and Amgen Inc. and an unexpected drop in home sales.

The Nasdaq 100 Index lost 0.9 percent as Netflix Inc. dropped after Amazon.com Inc. reached a deal to stream old episodes of HBO series. Amgen, which is in the technology-heavy gauge, plunged after sales for its best-selling arthritis drug missed analysts’ estimates. AT&T Inc. fell 3.8 percent as more customers opted to pay full price for smartphones in exchange for lower bill in the future. Boeing Co. added 2.4 percent after profit topped forecasts. Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc. each advanced in late trading after reporting results that surpassed estimates.

The S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent to 1,875.39 at 4 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 12.72 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,501.65. The Russell 2000 Index sank 0.7 percent. About 5.7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 18 percent below the three-month average.

“The market has been moving up rather well, but it can get a little tired,” Richard Sichel, chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co., which oversees $2 billion, said in a phone interview. “And the economic news today was not anything that would drive the market higher at this point. Apple and Facebook report after the close today, and everyone will be watching that, as they can be market movers.”

The U.S. equity benchmark gauge advanced 3.5 percent during its six-day rally, climbing to within six points of a record, as earnings from Netflix to Citigroup Inc. topped estimates and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated the bank’s commitment to supporting the economy. The

Home Data

Commerce Department data today showed that sales of new homes unexpectedly plunged in March to the lowest level in eight months, reflecting a broad-based retreat that signals the industry is facing bigger challenges than just bad weather. Sales dropped 14.5 percent to a 384,000 annualized pace. Economists predicted a 450,000 annualized pace.

A report from Markit Economics showed a preliminary U.S. manufacturing index decreased to 55.4 in April from a final reading of 55.5 a month earlier. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists was 56. Readings greater than 50 signal expansion.

Emerging-market equities dropped and European shares snapped the biggest three-day rally since June after the Markit gauge for China signaled continuing weakness in the world’s second-largest economy.

Volatility Index

The S&P 500’s six-day rally damped volatility, as the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index fell in each of the sessions to the lowest since April 2. The gauge known as the VIX added 0.6 percent to 13.27 today.

Of the 150 companies in the S&P 500 that have released earnings this season, 75 percent have exceeded analysts’ profit estimates, while 50 percent beat sales projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Some 41 members of the index posted today.

Profit for S&P 500 companies probably increased 0.7 percent in the first quarter, analysts estimated. They had predicted a 6.6 percent gain at the beginning of this year.

“These next few days are the most important of the earnings season as some big bellwethers report,” Heinz-Gerd Sonnenschein, an equity market strategist at Deutsche Postbank AG, said by phone from Bonn, Germany. “Earnings have not been great this quarter. Expectations had already been brought down quite dramatically and profit growth is weak year-on-year. The S&P 500 is holding up, but investors will need more of a signal to start buying into the market.”

Facebook, Apple

Facebook rose 2.9 percent at 4:46 p.m. in New York. The company’s sales and profit blew past analysts’ estimates. It also said Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman is leaving. The stock fell 2.7 percent to close the regular session at $61.36.

Apple Inc. surged 8.3 percent to $568.52 in late trading. The world’s largest company by market value also boosted its buyback to $90 billion and raised its dividend. The iPhone maker said it will do a seven-for-one stock split.

Greenlight Capital Inc., the $10.3 billion hedge-fund firm run by David Einhorn, said it was betting against a group of technology stocks as evidence grows of a bubble.

“There is a clear consensus that we are witnessing our second tech bubble in 15 years,” the New York-based firm said in a letter to clients yesterday. “The current bubble is an echo of the previous tech bubble with fewer larger capitalization stocks and much less public enthusiasm.”

Hedge Fund

Discovery Capital Management LLC, the $15 billion macro-economic hedge-fund firm run by Robert Citrone, slumped in April to bring its losses this year to 12 percent, according to an e-mail the firm sent to investors.

Discovery has struggled in 2014 after predicting at the start of the year that a crisis in emerging markets would worsen and shares of technology companies would rise, according to a 2014 outlook letter to clients, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News.

The broader Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 0.8 percent and technology shares were the second-worst performer among the 10 main S&P 500 groups today with a 0.9 percent slide. Intuitive Surgical Inc. sank 11 percent for its 12th drop in 13 sessions and the biggest loss in the S&P 500.

EMC Corp. declined 3.2 percent to $25.91. The world’s biggest maker of storage computers cut its earnings forecast for 2014 after reporting a drop in first-quarter profit. The company said some businesses are slowing purchases.

Phone Stocks

AT&T, which had rallied 14 percent from a low on March 3, sank 3.8 percent to $34.92. Customers who signed up for installment plans helped the company boost profit, but were rejecting AT&T’s older model of offering discounts on smartphones in exchange for a two-year contract with higher fees. While the change is padding profits now, though the company won’t be able to spread the revenue from device sales over time.

Phone stocks in the S&P 500 fell the most, dropping 2.2 percent as Verizon Communications Inc. also retreated.

Amgen lost 5 percent to $113.32, the steepest slide in a year. Quarterly sales of Enbrel, its best-selling arthritis medicine, declined 5 percent to $988 million, missing the $1.11 billion average analyst projection. Total revenue increased 6.6 percent to $4.52 billion from a year earlier, less than the $4.75-billion average estimate compiled by Bloomberg.

Amazon Deal

Netflix dropped 5.2 percent to $353.50. Amazon’s deal with Time Warner Inc.’s HBO network gives the company exclusive programs that Netflix doesn’t have. Netflix has used original programs such as “House of Cards” to draw online viewers. Amazon shares slipped 1.4 percent.

An S&P index of homebuilders lost 1.6 percent after the housing report. D.R. Horton Inc. sank 2.2 percent to $21.35 for among the biggest declines.

Procter & Gamble Co. slid 0.3 percent to $80.36. The world’s largest consumer-products company posted third-quarter revenue that missed expectations because of declines in its beauty and grooming businesses, as well as a strong dollar that reduced the value of its revenue abroad.

Boeing added 2.4 percent to $130.63 for the biggest rise in the Dow. The world’s largest planemaker reported profit that beat analysts’ estimates, buoyed by rising commercial-jet deliveries as the company stepped up the production tempo.

Delta Rises

Delta Air Lines Inc. was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, increasing 6.1 percent to $37.09 for a sixth day of gains. The third-largest U.S. airline’s first-quarter profit more than tripled, topping analysts’ estimates, as increased traffic and lower fuel prices trumped winter storms that ground 17,000 flights.

FMC Technologies Inc. had the second-biggest advance in the S&P 500, rising 4.2 percent to $57.75 and helping to pace a 0.5 percent increase in the benchmark gauge’s energy index. The largest U.S. maker of subsea equipment for energy producers reported earnings that exceeded estimates.

Gilead Sciences Inc. advanced 1.4 percent to $73.86 for an eighth day of gains that left the stock at a two-month high. Sales of its hepatitis C pill, Sovaldi, topped estimates by more than $1 billion. Profit excluding certain items also exceeding projections.

Illumina Inc. rose 3.9 percent to $153.69. The maker of DNA sequencing equipment said first-quarter sales increased 27 percent to $421 million, more than the $392 million projected by analysts.

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