United Parcel Service reported higher quarterly results that missed forecasts and the world's largest package delivery company cut its 2012 outlook, citing uncertain global economic conditions. The shares fell 3 per cent to $74.66.
Concerns about the euro zone focused on Spain's high borrowing costs due to fears the country may seek a bailout, a survey showing Germany's private sector shrank for a third straight month, and Moody's move to cut Germany's rating outlook to negative.
Whirlpool Corp, the world's largest appliance maker, missed Wall Street's expectations for quarterly earnings and sales, hurt by weak demand in Europe and a stronger dollar. The company's shares fell 5.5 per cent to $64.56.
“If we look in the US, the earnings that are coming through, the important feature I think is the relatively poor guidance we're seeing from companies as a whole,” said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist at Subodh Kumar & Associates in Toronto. “On top of that people are obviously watching Spain.”
European stocks were flat in morning trade as a weaker-than-expected German purchasing managers' survey showed private sector activity in Europe's largest economy contracted for a third month.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 13.59 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 12,707.87. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.84 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 1,349.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.39 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 2,891.54.
Texas Instruments Inc's second-quarter profit beat Wall Street expectations but the company warned that its third-quarter revenue would be weaker than usual as customers are cautious due to global economic uncertainties. The shares were flat at per cent to $26.82.
“The market is experiencing a renewed set of fears with concerns over a global economic slowdown and continued worries stemming from the euro zone,” said Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics at Lek Securities in New York. “Investors are stepping back and taking a risk-off stance for the moment.”
“Throw in earnings season as another variable and we are back to an erratic environment,” he said.
Spanish five-year government bond yields rose above 10-year yields for the first time since June 2001 on Tuesday, as investors fretted about the possibility that Madrid may need a full-blown sovereign bailout. The 10-year last traded at around 7.6 per cent.
An even gloomier picture for the overall euro zone's private sector, which shrank for a sixth month in July as manufacturing output nosedived, added to the likelihood that the bloc will slump back into recession.
AT&T Inc reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit due to strength in its wireless business, sending its shares up 0.5 per cent to $35.54.
Copyright @ Thomson Reuters 2012