U.S. stock markets mostly rose Wednesday, but were weighed down by shares of Apple, which threatened to put an end to a six-day run of gains for the S&P 500 and pushed the Nasdaq into slightly negative territory.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 135 points, or 0.9 percent, to 15,326, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) nudged up 5 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,689, but the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) slipped 4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,725.
Apple (AAPL) shares slumped 5.6 percent to $467.15, their steepest drop since April, and registered the biggest drag on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 indexes. Credit Suisse, UBS and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch each lowered their ratings on the stock to "neutral" after the company unveiled new iPhone models Tuesday.
Verizon Communications (VZ) sold a record-setting $49 billion in bonds to help fund its $130 billion acquisition of Vodafone Group's (VOD) stake in Verizon Wireless. A 30-year bond was priced to yield 6.559 percent, and a 10-year bond was priced to yield 5.192 percent, levels that were in line with investor expectations, The Wall Street Journal reported. The telecom giant also sold bonds that mature in three, five, seven and 20 years. Verizon shares rose 4 cents to $46.51.
In economic news, newly released data from the Commerce Department showed wholesale inventories for July edged up 0.1 percent, less than an expected rise of 0.3 percent, but better than June's 0.2 percent decline.
Investors looked ahead to the Fed's two-day policy meeting on Sept. 17 and 18, when a decision is expected on whether the central bank will begin to wind down the $85 billion a month in bond purchases it has been making to stimulate U.S. economic growth. The stimulus has been key in buoying the economy and boosting the benchmark S&P 500 index by nearly 18 percent so far this year.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil prices rose 17 cents to $107.56 after two days of declines, though fears of an immediate U.S.-led attack on Syria continued to fade.
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange observed a moment of silence shortly before trading began on the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
More Stocks in the News:
Restoration Hardware (RH) fell almost 12 percent to $67 after reporting second-quarter sales that weren't as strong as the first quarter.
Walt Disney (DIS) rose 1.7 percent to $63.90 after the company said it would delay its fifth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie from a planned 2015 opening. Studios struggled with big-budget flops this summer, including Disney's "The Lone Ranger," and investors may be glad to hear that the House of Mouse plans to take its time with the "Pirates" sequel.
Standard & Poor's lowered Dell's (DELL) corporate credit, citing the continued effects of the slump in PC demand and the possibility that the company could soon go private. Despite that, the stock ended the day absolutely flat, at $13.85.
Texas Instruments (TXN) edged down 0.7 percent to $40.03 after the No. 3 U.S. chipmaker lowered its third-quarter forecast.
Harvest Natural Resources (HNR) surged more than 26 percent to $5.25 after the oil and gas producer said it was in exclusive talks to sell itself to Argentina's Pluspetrol in a deal valued at about $373 million including debt.
International Paper (IP) is laying off 1,100 people who work at an Alabama paper mill that it plans to close permanently because of waning demand for the paper the facility makes. The Memphis, Tenn.-based company employs 70,000 workers in all. The stock rose 0.2 percent to $49.36 in Wednesday trading.
What to Watch Thursday:
At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims, and import and export prices for August.
Treasury releases the U.S. budget balance for August at 2 p.m.
These major companies are scheduled to report quarterly corporate earnings:
-Compiled from staff and wire reports.