Stocks slip as earnings, disappointing home sales weighed

U.S. stocks declined on Wednesday, with Wall Street retreating after a sixth day of gains for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, after data had new home sales declining in March and companies including Boeing and AT&T reported quarterly results.

“The market is — I don’t want to say bracing — but waiting for something to develop one way or the other,” said Stephen Carl, head equity trader at Williams Capital Group.

“Earnings are coming out, and for the most part are either mixed or positive,” Carl said.

Boeing shares gained after the plane manufacturer tallied a 14 percent gain in adjusted net profit in the first quarter, topping expectations. AT&T slid as the number of customers chose to pay a premium for smartphones to get a lower bill in the future.

Biotech shares declined a day after Amgen posted earnings below estimates.

“The U.S. recovery remains in fits and starts,” Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group, emailed after the Commerce Department reported new home sales fell 14.5 percent in March, the worst sales month since July.

The Markit survey of U.S. purchasing managers came in at 55.4 for April, below estimates of 56.0.

Stocks rose on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 extending its longest winning run since September, with investors enthusiastic after a round of quarterly earnings and a pickup in M&A activity.

Read More What burst of M&A activity says about the market

Name Price Change %Change
DJIA Dow Jones Industrial Average 16486.69 -27.68 -0.17%
S&P 500 S&P 500 Index 1875.94 -3.61 -0.19%
NASDAQ Nasdaq Composite Index 4133.74 -27.71 -0.67%

Recovering some from a 37-point fall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was lately down 24.08 points, or 0.2 percent, at 16,490.29, with AT&T pacing blue-chip declines and Boeing leading gains.

The S&P 500 fell 2.55 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,877, with telecommunications hardest hit and utilities faring best among its 10 major sectors.

Apple slid ahead of reporting earnings after Wednesday’s close. The consumer technology company is the largest contributor to the S&P 500, making up 3.69 percent, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Apple repurchased $16 billion in shares in the second quarter of 2013, the current quarterly record, and announced another $14 billion in January, “so look for a potential new quarter record” Wednesday, Silverblatt said.

The Nasdaq declined 23.35 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,138.11.

For every three stocks falling, less than four rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where 244 million shares traded as of 12:05 p.m. Eastern. Composite volume breached 1.3 billion.

The dollar fell against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners; the yield on the 10-year Treasury note used in figuring mortgage rates and other consumer loans fell 3 basis points to 2.683 percent.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude-oil futures for June delivery turned higher, up 9 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $101.84 a barrel, while gold futures for June delivery rose $2.70, or 0.2 percent, to $1,283.80.

—By CNBC’s Kate Gibson

Coming Up This Week:


Earnings: BoeingProcter and GambleFacebookEricssonNorthrop Grumman, Norfolk Southern, Dow Chemical, Owens Corning, TD Ameritrade, Ryder Systems, Tupperware, WR Grace, Omnicare, LPL Financial, Johnson Controls, Ingersoll-Rand, EMC, F5 Networks, ETrade, Zynga, Xilinx, Texas Instruments, Dr. Pepper SnappleDelta Airlines, Air Products, Biogen Idec, Raymond James, Morningstar, Safeway, Stryker, Qualcomm

1:00 p.m.: $35 billion 5-year Treasury auction


Earnings: Microsoft,, Caterpillar, Verizon, 3M, General Motors, UPS, United Continental, Timken, Starbucks, Freeport-McMoRan, Entergy, Jet Blue, Hershey, Imax, Noble Energy, Under Armour, T. Rowe Price, Stanley Black and Decker, Starwood, Broadcom, Applied Micro Nasdaq OMX, KKR, Peabody Energy, Potash, PulteGroup, Raytheon, Quest Diagnostics, Occidental Petroleum, NY Times, Novartis, Nucor, Altria, AstraZeneca, Amerisource Bergen, Alexion Pharma, Avnet, Brunswick, Bemis, Cabot Oil and Gas, Delphi Automotive,Eli Lilly, Dunkin Brands, DR Horton, Celgene, Pandora

8:30 a.m.: Weekly claims

8:30 a.m.: Durable goods

11:00 a.m.: Kansas City Fed survey

1:00 p.m.: $29 billion 7-year Treasury auction


Earnings: Ford, Colgate-Palmolive, Goodyear Tire, Honda Motors,Moody’s, Covidien, VF Corp, Weyerhaeuser, Dana Holding, Tyco, WPP Group, State Street, AON, American Electric Power

8:58 a.m.: Services PMI

9:55 a.m.: Consumer sentiment