Stocks were mostly down at midday as earnings reports continued to flow in, while economic data was worse-than-expected.
Durable-goods orders fell by 5.7% last month from February's tally, lower than Wall Street estimates of a 2.9% decline. When excluding aircraft, such orders increased slightly by 0.2%, but the overall totals suggest that businesses remain cautious about economic conditions and are slowing purchases durable items, such as machinery. The durables report led to an increase in Treasuries as well as gold prices.
Stocks on the Move
Late Tuesday, Apple (AAPL) reported an 18% decline in second-quarter profit, marking the first time in 10 years that the tech giant has posted a drop in quarterly earnings when compared with the same period the previous year. Year-over-year revenue improved 11%, lifted by sales outside the United States, beating Apple's expectations. Morningstar analysts say Apple's third-quarter forecast is dismal, but if an exciting iPhone 5S were to arrive this summer, as some of Apple's chip suppliers have hinted, the weak outlook would be less of a concern. Shares were 1.5% lower at midday.
Ford Motor Company (F) announced a 15% increase in year-over-year net income for the first quarter, beating Street estimates. The auto manufacturer saw strength in North America but continued to see weakness in its international segments. Shares were 0.8% lower at midday.
Boeing (BA) shares had jumped 3.4% by midday after the firm reported core earnings and revenue ahead of Street expectations. Despite concerns about budget cuts in the U.S. defense sector, Boeing maintained its outlook for 2013.
Procter & Gamble (PG) posted a 6.4% gain in third-quarter earnings, which when adjusted, beat expectations. But organic sales growth disappointed, and the firm's outlook for the fourth quarter is also lower than the Street's forecast. Shares were down by 4.9% at midday.
Stocks in Europe were higher as there's some optimism that Italy's new prime minister, Enrico Letta, could bring the country some political stability and ease fears of an expanding eurozone crisis. The Paris CAC finished 1.6% higher, and the DAX gained 1.3%. The FTSE 100 rose by 0.4%.
Kevin O'Shaughnessy does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.