Stocks Mixed as Reports Conflict

Investors looking for direction received little from the stock market on Wednesday, as stocks traded lower and higher, only to finish back where they started.

Technology earnings reports were mixed. Sun gained 4% on its first earnings report under new CEO Jonathan Schwartz, and IDT , RF Micro , Lattice Semi , Manhattan Associates , Parametric and SigmaTel rose on their results. , meanwhile, plunged 22% after the company missed earnings estimates and lowered future earnings guidance. Corning , Cymer , Plantronics and SIRF also fell on their results.

HP’s plans to buy Mercury Interactive provided some support for tech stocks.

After the close, the mixed picture continued, with Symantec and Akamai surging on their results, and falling on its report.

Blue chips were also mixed Wednesday, with GM rising on better than expected results and Boeing falling on its earnings news. The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book survey added to the tug of war, revealing slowing economic growth and modest inflation.

The Nasdaq slipped 3 to 2070, the S&P 500 lost half a point to 1268, and the Dow closed down 1 to 11,102. Volume rose to 2.67 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.14 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 17-14 on the NYSE, while decliners led 16-13 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 55% on the NYSE, and 51% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 99-68 on the NYSE, and 65-125 on the Nasdaq.

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