10:10 AM New York – U.S. stocks struggled and tech stocks traded down ahead of earnings from Apple, Qualcomm and Facebook after the close. Boeing reported higher adjusted earnings and lifted 2014 outlook. Proctor & Gamble reported flat quarterly sales. New home sales in March plunged 14.5%.
Stocks opened lower after European markets struggled and a private survey reported a slight improvement in manufacturing in China.
S&P 500 index declined 0.1% to 1,877.13 and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.3% to 4,150.68.
Market indexes on Wall Street have advanced 3.5% in last six trading days after earnings from several companies including Netflix and Citigroup exceeded expectations.
Apple Inc, Qualcomm Inc and Facebook Inc are scheduled to release earnings after the close today. Apple is expected to report flat sales and earnings are expected to fall 5%, a sixth quarterly weakness in a row.
New home sales in March plunged 14.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000 units, a fall for the second month in a row.
Home sales declined 13.3% from a year ago in the month, the largest decline since April 2011.
The Commerce Department revised February sales higher to 449,000 from the previously reported 440,000 annual rate.
The median price of a new home last month advanced 12.6% to $290,000 from March a year ago.
Manufacturing Index Eases
A private survey conducted by Markit Economics showed a slight decline in manufacturing growth in April. The index decline to 55.4 from a final read of 55.5 in March.
Stocks in Tokyo gained for the first time in three days and resource linked companies led the gainers.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average jumped 157.50 or 1.1% to 14,546.27 and the Topix index gained 11.31 to 1,173.81.
The yen closed up 0.2% to 102.61 against the U.S. dollar.
Toyota reported a surge of 6% in global vehicle production to 2.58 million in the quarter to March. Honda global production in the quarter increased 12.4% to 0.4 million and at Nissan rose 10.4% to 0.49 million units. Seibu surged 10% on the first day of trading.
Preliminary manufacturing industry survey in China conducted by HSBC indicated the index increased tom 48.3 in April from 48 in March.
Any read below 50 means a contraction, however the latest data suggested manufacturing growth is still slowing but at a smaller rate than in the previous month.
U.S. Stocks in Review
The Boeing Company (BA
) increased 2.5% to $130.65 and the plane maker reported 14% increase in adjusted net income in the first quarter and revised higher full-year income estimate.
The aviation company and defense contractor reported profit declined 13% to $965 million or $1.28 a share compared to $1.11 billion or $1.44 per share.