SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — U.S. stocks rose Tuesday, once again testing resistance levels, as financials rallied and tech stocks were weighed down following Apple Inc.’s appearance at an investment conference.
Earlier, the major U.S. stock indexes struggled for direction, with Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE:KO) weighing on the Dow Jones Industrial Average after the beverage giant’s quarterly revenue growth came in below analyst estimates.
The Dow industrials (DJI:DJIA) rose 37.01 points, or 0.3%, to 14,008.25, with 22 of 30 components trading in positive territory.
State of the Union mystery to traders
Wall Street Journal’s Paul Vigna reports traders have a wary eye on President Obama’s agenda he’ll lay out in his State of the Union address.
Coca-Cola was the biggest decliner in the Dow. Its shares dropped 1.5% after the company said fourth-quarter revenue increased 3.8% to $11.46 billion, which was below expectations. The world’s largest beverage company also saw weakness in Europe and China. See: Coca-Cola profit rises 13% on higher case volume.
On the other hand, Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) led the Dow higher with a 2.5% gain.
The S&P 500 index (SNC:SPX) advanced 2.40 points, or 0.2%, to 1,519.41, with tech stocks the biggest decliner and financials the top gainer among the 10 major industry groups.
Apple CEO Tim Cook at a conference in Idaho last year.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (NASDAQ:COMP) declined 2.22 points, or 0.1%, to 3,189.77. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares declined 1.8% as the company presented at a Goldman Sachs investment conference in San Francisco. Read more about Apple’s investor presentation.
The stock market is undergoing an epic struggle right now, having been in a secular bear market for the past 13 years, said Marty Leclerc, principal at Barrack Yard Advisors. With the stock market at multiyear highs, and multiyear resistance levels, we would need another 30% rally over the next year to break out of the bear market, he said. See Mark Hulbert’s commentary: An overlooked bear-market strategy.
“We do think it’s a dangerous tipping point,” Leclerc said. “Either the market will go up 30% in the next year or we’ll have a 20% to 25% decline from these levels.”
Advancers outnumbered decliners 18 to 10 on the NYSE, and 13 to 9 on the Nasdaq. Composite volume topped 1.6 billion shares for NYSE-listed shares, and 868 million for Nasdaq-listed stocks.
Several Fed officials are due to speak Tuesday, including Federal Reserve voting member Esther George. George was the lone “no” vote at the central bank’s meeting last month, on worries that the Fed is promoting bubbles and boosting inflation expectations. At 1:30 p.m. Eastern, the Atlanta Fed’s Dennis Lockhart will be speaking in Madrid.
After market close on Tuesday evening, President Barack Obama will deliver the State of the Union address. “The markets want to see if there is anything new for the direction of the country and the economy,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of New York-based Sarhan Capital. See: Obama to reward coalition in State of the Union speech.
“The pullbacks we’ve seen so far have been very, very mild and that in and of itself is healthy because it shows that sellers are nowhere to be seen. And it shows buyers are still clearly in control of this market,” Sarhan said.
On the corporate front, shares of Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:KORS) jumped more than 10% as the company reported a surge in fiscal third-quarter earnings helped by sharply higher same-store sales.