Financial and technology stocks led Wall Street lower on Wednesday as concerns about rising U.S. bond yields eclipsed gains from Boeing and Comcast following strong results.
Shares of the world’s biggest planemaker rose 2.5 per cent after its profit jumped by more than half in the first quarter and the company raised its full-year forecasts for cash flow and earnings.
After Caterpillar spooked investors by warning about higher material costs on Tuesday, Boeing executives, on a post-earnings call noted that it was not seeing a material effect from raw material costs.
“With earnings reports that are coming out, the focus is on the forward guidance for where the interest rate environment is going,” said William Norris, chief investment officer at CIBC Bank USA.
“Investors are seeing a lot more cross-currents impacting the markets … we knew that earnings were going to be very good and people are looking beyond the first quarter.”
The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes, the benchmark for global interest rates, held above 3 percent after crossing the level for the first time in four years on Tuesday, stoking concerns about higher borrowing rates for companies.
Comcast rose 3.7 per cent after the U.S. cable company topped Wall Street’s profit estimates and offered $30.7-billion in a bid for Sky.
Twitter, initially up 10 per cent after a strong set of quarterly results, flipped to a 5-per-cent fall on the day.
Facebook which is set to report after market on Wednesday, was down 0.14 per cent. Investors will watch for any update on the social network’s plan on data protection after it became embroiled in a huge scandal surrounding the misuse of its users’ data by a consultancy.
“There’s pending regulation, we don’t know how exactly it’s going to play out and there’s a lot of uncertainty,” said Kim Forrest, senior portfolio manager at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
Reuters data shows that analysts are now estimating 22-per-cent profit growth in the first quarter among the S&P 500 companies, compared with 18.6 per cent at the start of the earnings season.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 27.18 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 23,996.95, the S&P 500 was down 0.91 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 2,633.65 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.34 points at 7,007.01.
Financial stocks were the biggest laggards, falling 0.4 per cent on the S&P 500, after a 5-per-cent drop in shares of Capital One as the credit card issuer reported a drop in net interest margin.
General Electric fell more than 4 per cent after Moody’s changed its ratings outlook on the company.
The CBOE Volatility index, a gauge of short-term stock market volatility, jumped to a more than 1-week high of 18.72 points.
Canada’s main stock index edged higher on Wednesday.
At 1:33 p.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 35.96 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 15,512.96.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies , rose 0.1 per cent despite lower gold prices. The biggest drags to the index were Teck Resources which declined 3.1 per cent and First Quantum Minerals, down 3 per cent.
Energy stocks rose 1.3 per cent in morning trading, Imperial Oil increased 1.6 per cent, while Canadian Natural Resources was up 0.7 per cent.
Despite reporting a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss, Cenovus Energy Inc was trading up 3 per cent, recovering from a more than 6-per-cent drop earlier.