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Stocks End Lower After Mixed Earnings, Data

Kevin O'Shaughnessy

U.S. Market
Stocks were in the red following mixed economic data and earnings reports Wednesday.

New-home sales for last month fell 14.5% compared with February's reading. The March tally came in much lower than economists had expected, and it was the worst annualized sales rate in eight months. Year-over-year sales were 13.3% lower, while the median new-home price touched its highest-ever level, $290,000.

Meanwhile, the preliminary reading of the April Markit purchasing managers' index came in at 55.4 versus a final March tally of 55.5, with many of the subindexes showing strength.

The Dow fell 0.1%, and the S&P 500 lost 0.2%. The Nasdaq ended 0.8% lower.

Stocks on the Move
Boeing (BA) continued its solid execution and reported strong first-quarter results, with deliveries of 161 aircraft versus 137 last year. Boeing delivered 8% total sales growth to $20.5 billion as commercial rose 19% to $12.7 billion and defense fell 6% to $7.6 billion. Core earnings per share, which exclude certain pension costs, increased 2% to $1.76. The company largely maintained its 2014 forecast. Shares gained 2.4%.

Procter & Gamble (PG) posted a third-quarter earnings gain of 1.7% at $2.61 billion versus $2.57 billion from the same time last year. Sales slipped slightly but still came in at $20.56 billion. Adjusted earnings per share were ahead of Wall Street expectations, while revenue fell short. Shares fell 0.3%.

Dow Chemical (DOW) shares rose 0.9% following the firm's release of its first-quarter results, which revealed a 65% surge in profit to $1.05 billion compared with $635 million year over year. Revenue rose slightly to $14.46 billion, missing Street expectations, but EPS exceeded them.

After Tuesday's closing bell, AT&T (T) reported first-quarter results that showed the firm bounced back from a challenging end to 2013. The firm added 625,000 net postpaid customers during the first quarter, its best performance in more than a year. The addition of tablets and other data-centric devices continues to pad this figure, but Morningstar analysts estimate the firm added about 230,000 net new phone customers, far better than the 400,000 net phone customers lost during the fourth quarter. Customer defections also held steady at roughly the same pace seen in recent years. Shares, however, lost 3.8%.