Stocks slipped Wednesday as strong economic numbers were overshadowed by mixed corporate results, including earnings from Motorola Inc. and Pfizer Inc. that failed to impress investors.
Housing starts jumped 10.9 percent in December, according to a Commerce Department report, and the Federal Reserve's Beige Book indicated that the economy picked up steam from late November to early January. Meanwhile, jobless claims fell and consumer prices, a measure of inflation, remained tame.
Even so, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 88.82, or 0.8 percent, to 10,539.97. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 11.35, or 1 percent, to 1,184.63. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 32.45, or 1.5 percent, to 2,073.59.
Among local companies, Point.360's stock jumped 13.9 percent after the L.A.-based media services firm's president and CEO, Haig Bagerdjian, disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that he had bought 28,797 shares on Jan. 14.
And Calabasas-based Ryland Group Inc. edged up 0.7 percent to close at $61.79 after its stock was raised to "buy" from "accumulate" by Parker Hunter Inc. On Tuesday, the company announced fourth-quarter earnings, reporting net income of $108.7 million ($2.17 per diluted share) for the period ended Dec. 31, up from $86.1 million ($1.65 per share) for the year-earlier quarter.
On the down side, shares of IMPCO Technologies Inc. sunk 4.8 percent to $6.58, after the Cerritos-based fuel systems maker announced its preliminary earnings results for the fourth quarter. The company reported revenues would be between $27.5 million to $28.5 million, within previous guidance, and said it would take a $6.3 million charge to pay off $20 million in senior subordinated secured notes.
And Tetra Tek Inc. dipped 3.3 percent to $15.28 after research firm Morgan Joseph initiated coverage of the Pasadena-based company's stock, setting the level at "hold."
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