Market Wrap: S&P, Nasdaq Fall With Apple; Dow Sets Record

Financial Markets Wall Street
Richard Drew/AP
By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK -- The S&P 500 closed lower and the Nasdaq snapped a 10-session winning streak Wednesday as investors took profits in Apple shares, while the Dow eked out another record high close.

Boosting the Dow were consumer discretionary shares including McDonald's (MCD), up 3.9 percent at 98.66, which also helped to limit losses on the S&P 500.

The S&P 500 consumer discretionary index added 0.8 percent, with shares of TJX (TJX) up 3.3 percent at $69.38 after results. Target (TGT) edged up 0.3 percent to $77.15 after a stronger-than-expected jump in same-store sales and profits for the fourth quarter.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's testimony to a House of Representatives committee provided few new clues for investors on the timing of an interest rate hike.

Apple (AAPL) shares dropped 2.6 percent to $128.79, retracing recent gains. The stock is still up 16.6 percent for the year so far.

"It's a big hedge fund stock, and there's always the potential for some profit-taking among some shorter-term players," especially after the stock's big run-up, said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 15.38 points, or 0.08 percent, to 18,224.57, a record close. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GSPC) lost 1.62 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,113.86 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 0.99 points, or 0.02 percent, to 4,967.14.

Energy shares climbed with sharp gains in oil prices. The S&P energy index was up 0.4 percent, while U.S. crude oil prices rose 3.5 percent to $50.99.

Also lending support, data showed single-family home sales in January fell less than expected and supply rose to its highest level since 2010.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shares tumbled 9.9 percent to $34.67 as the worst performer on the S&P 500. The world's No. 2 PC-maker reported flat or lower quarterly revenue in all of its operating units and forecast full-year earnings well below analyst expectations.

About 6.2 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 6.8 billion average for the month to date, according to BATS Global Markets.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,697 to 1,359, for a 1.25-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,473 issues rose and 1,233 fell, for a 1.19-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 59 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq composite recorded 120 new highs and 23 new lows.

What to watch Thursday:
  • At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Commerce Department releases durable goods for January, and the Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims and the Consumer Price Index for January.
  • Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates at 10 a.m.
Earnings Calendar
These selected companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial results:
  • AMC Networks (AMCX)
  • Anheuser-Busch Inbev (BUD)
  • Autodesk (ADSK)
  • Chico's FAS (CHS)
  • CubeSmart (CUBE)
  • Gap (GPS)
  • Herbalife (HLF)
  • HSN (HSNI)
  • J.C. Penney (JCP)
  • Kohl's (KSS)
  • Live Nation Entertainment (LYV)
  • Mobileye (MBLY)
  • Monster Beverage (MNST)
  • Ross Stores (ROST)
  • Royal Bank Scotland (RBS)
  • SBA Communications (SBAC)
  • Sempra Energy (SRE)
  • Toronto Dominion Bank (TD)
  • Visteon (VC)
10 Organic Grocery Items That Aren't Worth It
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Market Wrap: S&P, Nasdaq Fall With Apple; Dow Sets Record
While you should buy pure maple syrup instead of maple-flavored "syrup," it doesn't have to be organic. The same process is used to produce both organic and non-organic maple syrup and most non-organic syrup is made without pesticides or chemicals.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn't currently have organic standards for seafood, so if you see seafood labeled as "organic," beware. The label doesn't mean it adheres to any U.S. standards.
Quinoa has a bitter-tasting coating that's not appealing to pests, so most quinoa growers skip pesticides. Although there's a chance a farmer might spray a quinoa crop, it's unlikely. So, go ahead and buy conventional quinoa, since it's unlikely to have unhealthy chemicals.
Since grapefruit has a thick skin, most pesticides don't penetrate the fruit inside. You can skip organic grapefruit juice.
You've probably noticed that organic avocados aren't that much more expensive than conventional ones. The reason? Like grapefruit, given their skin, growing organic avocados isn't that much more difficult than growing conventional avocados.
The Environmental Working Group came up with a "Clean 15" -- 15 types of produce that have lower pesticides. Over 25 percent of this list was made up of tropical fruit. Pineapple, mango, papaya, and kiwi are all types of produce shown to have fewer pesticides.
My toddler son loves to eat frozen peas (and specifically to eat them still frozen.) We almost always tried to buy them organic, believing these to be better for him. Imagine my surprise to find out that they are also part of EWG's Clean 15.
Corn is another item I was surprised to see on EWG's list of produce with fewer pesticides. While they say there are fewer pesticides, remember that organic certification also means that the item is not genetically modified. So, if you are only choosing organic items to lower your exposure to pesticides, it's fine to buy conventional corn. But if you want to avoid genetically modified foods, then buy organic corn.
One of the guidelines in knowing when to choose organic over conventional is whether you eat the skin. If you eat the skin, it's usually best to buy organic. With cantaloupe you don't eat the skin -- so perhaps that's one reason it made the EWG Clean 15 list. But cabbage and cauliflower were also part of EWG's Clean 15. So a good way to remember these items is "the 3 C's."
Since they're a staple of everything from meatloaf to stir fry, you might assume it's best to buy organic onions. Not so. Conventional onions have fewer pesticides than many other foods, partially due to the layers of outer skin that you peel away, so you can skip organic. Further, at least according to one study, organically grown onions do not offer any more nutrients than conventionally grown.
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