By William L. Watts, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â" U.S. stock futures wobbled mostly lower on Wednesday after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reported an earnings drop and housing data proved mixed, denting cheer over strong financial results from Apple Inc.
S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,284, -11.20, -0.87%) Â fell 2.9 points to 1,291.8, while futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 11,790, -21.00, -0.18%) Â shed 5 points to 11,806.
Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,314, -16.75, -0.72%) Â were up 1.25 points at 2,332.
Not a word about Steve Jobs
Not a single analyst asked about CEO Steve Jobs' medical leave on Appleâs conference call late Tuesday, sticking instead to questions about the tech bellwetherâs earnings and outlook.
Shares of Goldman Sachs /quotes/comstock/13*!gs/quotes/nls/gs (GS 170.04, -4.64, -2.66%) Â were off 3.3% after the firm reported a drop of more than 50% in fourth-quarter net profit. See more on Street powerhouse Goldman Sachsâ lower quarterly profit and revenue.
Providing a further snapshot of the nationâs housing market, the Commerce Department reported construction of new homes fell 4.3% in December, while the number of building permits issued rose 16.7%.
Strategists said investors continue to show a hearty, underlying appetite for risk, which bodes well for equities.
âOverall, any weakness tends to be short-lived,â said David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Index, with investors gunning for the 12,000 level on the Dow iIndustrials.
Strategists at Lloyds TSB said in a note: âAll in all, the ârisk-on/reflationâ trade seems in rude health, across asset classes, and keeps defying our expectation for a correction in [the first quarter].â
After Tuesdayâs closing bell, Apple /quotes/comstock/15*!aapl/quotes/nls/aapl (AAPL 343.92, +3.27, +0.96%) Â said first-quarter net income jumped to $6 billion, or $6.43 a share, compared to net income of $3.38 billion, or $3.67 a share, for the same period during fiscal 2010. Revenue jumped more than 70% to $26.74 billion on strong holiday sales of the iPhone and iPad. Read about Apple's first-quarter earnings.
Apple shares fell by more than 2% in Tuesdayâs regular session, a day after the company announced that Chief Executive Steve Jobs would be going on another medical leave.
Apple shares rose 2% in U.S. premarket trade on Wednesday, while International Business Machines Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!ibm/quotes/nls/ibm (IBM 154.95, +4.30, +2.85%) Â gained 2.6%.
Late Tuesday, the tech bellwether and Dow component said fourth-quarter net income nearly doubled to $143.7 million, or 62 cents a share. Revenue rose 50% to $383.6 million. Read about IBMâs results.
Bank of New York Mellon Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!bk/quotes/nls/bk (BK 31.97, -0.05, -0.16%) Â said Wednesday that fourth-quarter profit from continuing operations fell 3.1% to $690 million, or 55 cents a share, including restructuring charges of 4 cents. Analysts surveyed by Factset Research had produced a consensus forecast of 57 cents a share.TODAY'S TOP MARKET STORIES
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The Wall Street Journal reported that CEO Vikram Pandit plans to name John Havens as president and chief operating officer of Citigroup Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!c/quotes/nls/c (C 4.80, 0.00, 0.00%) , as part of a structural overhaul. Havens has led the bankâs institutional clients group for the past three years.
European stocks were mostly lower in late morning trade, with losses for ASML Holding NV /quotes/comstock/15*!asml/quotes/nls/asml (ASML 37.40, -2.70, -6.73%) Â weighing on the technology sector in the wake of the firmâs results. Read Europe Markets.
Most Asian markets advanced Wednesday, cheered by results overnight from Apple and IBM, while a weaker dollar lifted commodity-sector shares. Read Asia Markets.
U.S. stocks ended higher on Tuesday as upbeat manufacturing data boosted the energy and materials sectors, more than offsetting a subpar earnings report from CitigroupÂ and worries about the health of Appleâs Jobs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,837, -1.32, -0.01%) Â rose 50.55 points to close at 11,837.03, while the S&P 500 /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,287, -8.44, -0.65%) Â ended with a gain of 1.78 points at 1,295.02.
The Nasdaq 100 /quotes/comstock/10y!i:comp (COMP 2,740, -25.82, -0.93%) Â finished with a 0.2% gain at 2,328.79.
The Dow last week posted its seventh consecutive weekly gain, with Tuesdayâs advance taking the blue-chip benchmark to its highest level since mid-2008.
In currencies, the U.S. dollar was weaker versus most major rivals, slipping against the Japanese yen /quotes/comstock/21o!x:susdjpy (USDYEN 82.0100, -0.5800, -0.7023%) Â to trade at Â¥82.06 as the euro /quotes/comstock/21o!x:seurusd (EURUSD 1.3493, +0.0106, +0.7918%) Â rose to $1.3511.
And in commodities, gold futures rose $4.30 to fetch $1,372.5 an ounce, with Nymex crude-oil futures gaining 66 cents to stand at $92.04 a barrel in electronic trade.
William L. Watts is a reporter for MarketWatch in London.Powered By iWebRSS.com