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Dow Gains 7, Nasdaq Finishes Down 3

Stocks closed mostly flat on Wednesday as the latest round of earnings reports failed to give investors an impetus to push the market's recent rally forward. Stocks are consolidating their gains after surging since the start of the year. The Dow closed above 14,000 for the first time since December 2007 Friday and had its best January in almost two decades.
Associated Press,

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks were flat on Wall Street as the latest round of earnings reports failed to give investors an impetus to push the market's recent rally forward.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 7.22 points to 13,986.52 on Wednesday, after trading slightly lower for most of the day. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.83 point to 1,512.12. The Nasdaq composite was three points lower at 3,168.48

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Time Warner rose $2.05, or 4.1 percent, to $52.01 after the company said its net income grew 51 percent in the last three months of 2012 even as revenue was largely unchanged. Marathon Oil Corp. fell 32 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $34.40 after its fourth-quarter net income fell 41 percent on higher exploration costs and taxes.

Stocks are consolidating their gains after surging since the start of the year. The Dow closed above 14,000 for the first time since December 2007 Friday and had its best January in almost two decades. The index is up 6.7 percent this year; the broader S&P 500 is 6 percent higher.

"There's no question that we need to take a pause and let reality catch up," said Jim Russell, an investment director at U.S. Bank.

The rally started when lawmakers reached a last-minute deal at New Year's to avoid the "fiscal cliff," a series of steep tax increases and spending cuts that would have kicked in at the beginning of the year. The gains continued on optimism that the housing market recovery is gaining momentum and that the job market is healing.

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While the budget deal reached in January dealt with tax increases, it didn't tackle spending cuts.

Automatic spending cuts, which would hit everything from defense spending to popular benefit programs, were scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, but were postponed till March 1. Russell says stocks will be unlikely to rise strongly while talks heat up in Washington over the spending cuts, which are also referred to as sequestration.

The rally has pushed stocks close to record levels. The Dow is 178 points off its record close, reached in October 2007, and the S&P is 53 points below its all-time high, achieved in the same month.

"We've had a really nice move up here, whether we graduate to the next level, I think is questionable," said Ben Schwarz, Chief Market Strategist at Light Speed Financial. "We're looking for something to spark it."

More than half of the companies in the S&P 500 have now reported earnings for the fourth quarter and analysts are expecting earnings for the period to rise by 6 percent, according to data from S&P Capital IQ. That puts earnings growth on track to increase for the third straight quarter after slowing to 0.81 percent in the second quarter of 2012.

As investors have become more comfortable holding riskier assets like stocks, they have cut their holdings in defensive investments like U.S. government bonds, sending yields on those bonds higher.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, has risen more than 20 basis points since the start of the year and is trading close to its highest level since April. The yield fell 4 basis points to 1.96 percent Wednesday.

Among other stocks making big moves:

- Ralph Lauren surged $9.72, or 5.9 percent, to $174.63 after the designer clothing company posted a 27 percent increase in income. The company is reporting strong spending among its affluent shoppers in the U.S. and improving trends in Europe.

- Walt Disney rose 23 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $54.52 after the company posted fiscal first-quarter profits that exceeded analysts' expectations. The entertainment giant's stock rose to a record $55.50, boosted by optimism about the earnings potential of its networks, movies and theme parks.

-Boise Cascade, a wood products and building materials company, jumped $5.15, or 24.5 percent, to $26.15 on its first day of trading.

- Aflac fell $2.31, or 4.3 percent, to $51.18 after the insurer reported its fourth quarter earnings late Tuesday. RBC Capital Markets cut their forecast for the company's 2013 earnings to reflect the impact of a weaker Japanese yen. Aflac earns a significant portion of its revenues in Japan.

- Liberty Global Inc., the cable TV operator controlled by media mogul John Malone, fell $1.82, or 2.7 percent, to $66.06 after it said it is buying U.K.-based Virgin Media Inc. in a $16 billion deal.

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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 26, 2016
  • 1.
    4.4/12
  • 2.
    2.8/8
  • 3.
    2.5/7
  • 4.
    1.5/4
  • 5.
    0.8/2
  • 6.
    0.3/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

    The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie Uncle Buck, bumped by ABC from midseason, has the same tired jokes you'll find on any second-rate sitcom. Too bad, because Mike Epps is appealing and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer. It also airs against NBC’s America’s Got Talent, summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.

  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

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