Most indexes dip on earnings news

Uneven corporate earnings news left the stock market mixed on Tuesday.

Most major indexes closed slightly lower, except for the Dow Jones industrial average. Yet even there the gain was due to the increase in one stock, United Technologies.

Better earnings from big banks, health insurers and other companies have helped drive the stock market higher this month. On Tuesday, however, the encouraging and the discouraging seemed evenly matched.

Wendy’s and United Technologies surged after posting stronger results than financial analysts expected. Netflix and the Altria Group, maker of Marlboro cigarettes, sank after their results fell short.

“In the absence of major economic news, the focus is on earnings this week,” said David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial. “And there’s nothing today to drive the market dramatically one way or another.”

The Dow rose 22.19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,567.74. If not for a 3 percent gain in United Technologies, the Dow would have closed down a point.

United Technologies rose $3.01 to $105.12 after the conglomerate said strong orders for commercial airline parts and elevators helped lift its profit.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 3.14 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,692.39. The Nasdaq composite fell 21.11 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,579.27.

It was a busy day for earnings as 35 companies in the S&P 500 were scheduled to turn in results. The second-quarter scorecard looks good so far. More than six out of every 10 companies have posted earnings that surpassed Wall Street’s expectations, according to S&P Capital IQ.

Analysts forecast that second-quarter earnings for companies in the S&P 500 increased 3.8 percent over the same period last year.

“The bar has been set pretty low,” said Joel Huffman, senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. It’s hardly a surprise that many companies are able to jump over it, he said.

Sales are another story. Analysts expect revenue to shrink 0.7 percent in the second quarter. Huffman said he’s encouraged that many banks and makers of consumer-discretionary goods have reported stronger U.S. sales.

“It’s an indication of the underlying growth in the U.S. economy versus other parts of the world,” he said.

WENDY’S: It jumped 55 cents, or 8.2 percent, to $7.23. The fast-food company’s net income came in above Wall Street’s expectations. Wendy’s also announced plans to sell 425 restaurants as franchises and raised its quarterly dividend by a penny to 5 cents.

ALTRIA GROUP: The Marlboro maker said its quarterly results fell short of analysts’ expectations. Altria’s stock sank 89 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $35.99.

NETLFIX: It dropped $11.70, or 4.5 percent, to $250.26. The company said late Monday that it signed up fewer subscribers than financial analysts had projected. Big expectations have propelled Netflix’s stock up 170 percent since the start of the year, adding more pressure on the company to deliver amazing numbers.

RADIOSHACK: Its second-quarter loss widened as the struggling electronics retailer works to revamp its stores and product assortment ahead of the crucial holiday season. It’s a deeper loss than analysts expected, although revenue topped predictions. The company’s CFO is leaving while RadioShack is bringing on consultants to help improve results.

UPS: Its second-quarter profit is 4 percent lower than last year as customers shift from premium to lower-priced shipping services. The company called the results disappointing and said it’s adapting to the changing market.

DUPONT: Its second-quarter profit dropped 12 percent, hurt by lower prices for titanium dioxide, a widely used whitening pigment. The chemicals maker is exploring a possible sale or spinoff of its performance chemicals unit.

DISCOVER FINANCIAL: An increase in loans and interest income helped boost net income by 13 percent in the second quarter, trumping Wall Street expectations.

NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Second-quarter profit slid 11 percent, as the railroad struggles to offset continued weak coal demand and shipping volume grew by only 2 percent.

FORD: It’s hiring 800 more engineers, computer specialists and other staff to meet demand for new cars.

STARBUCKS: It wants a taste of the Greek yogurt craze. The coffee chain said it’s teaming up with French food and drink company Danone to sell Greek yogurt parfaits.

AT&T: The surge in tablet usage helped boost AT&T’s wireless revenue for the latest quarter, but profits declined as costs surged.

CISCO: It is buying computer network security company Sourcefire for about $2.37 billion to boost its cybersecurity business.