[WASHINGTON] US stocks fluctuated, after a retreat Monday from all-time highs, as weaker-than-forecast results at Whirlpool Corp and Coach Inc offset gains in Merck & Co.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.1 per cent to 2,106.18 at 9.49 am in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 3.04 points, or less than 0.1 perent, to 18,041.01. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.3 per cent.
Whirlpool fell 6.4 per cent after cutting its annual forecast on currency fluctuations and sluggish demand in Brazil. Coach slumped 7 per cent as North American sales plunged last quarter. Merck & Co. added 5 per cent after the drugmaker boosted its annual profit forecast. Aetna Inc climbed 2.5 per cent after raising its full-year forecast.
"It's difficult to see US equities really rally a lot from these levels unless the dollar weakens and oil prices rebound," said Peter Garnry, Saxo Bank A/S's head of equity strategy. "Even though profit estimates had already come down, this hasn't been enough for some companies. Apple is in a different league. The numbers were very good and the shares will get a strong boost from the capital-return program."