U.S. Stocks Little Changed With S&P 500, Dow Average at Records

May 13, 2014 4:37 pm ET

May 13 (Bloomberg) -- The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was little changed at a record, after briefly topping 1,900 for the first time, as data showed retail sales in March were higher than initially reported.

Keurig Green Mountain Inc. added 7.6 percent after Coca- Cola Co. boosted its stake in the company. Whirlpool Corp. sank 2.8 percent following an analyst downgrade. McKesson Corp. rallied 3.3 percent on better-than-estimated earnings.

The S&P 500 added less than one point to 1,897.45 at 4 p.m. in New York for a second consecutive record close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19.97 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,715.44, extending its all-time high after a fifth straight gain, its longest rally this year.

“We’ve had a stealth rally in the market to this record,” Eric Marshall, a portfolio manager at Hodges Funds in Dallas, said in a phone interview. The firm oversees about $2 billion. “The fact that we’ve moved up and hit new highs, in spite of some lingering negative sentiment, is a very healthy and positive thing for the market.”

Small-cap stocks slumped today, with the Russell 2000 Index sinking 1.1 percent after yesterday rallying the most in two months. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.3 percent after having its best day since January. About 5.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 17 percent below the three- month average.

While the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite has recovered 3.3 percent from its April low, it remains more than 5 percent below a 13-year high in March as investors have sold some of the bull market’s biggest winners. TripAdvisor Inc. slid 2.8 percent today for the worst performance in the S&P 500 after jumping 5.8 percent yesterday.

Data today showed retail sales climbed 0.1 percent last month after a revised 1.5 percent surge in March that was the biggest since March 2010, Commerce Department figures showed. The median forecast of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.4 percent advance.

Retail Results

Consumers were less inclined to ramp up spending again after March saw a release of pent-up demand caused by harsh winter weather.

“We’re still in a nascent recovery,” Chad Morganlander, a fund manager at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., which oversees more than $150 billion, said in a phone interview from Florham Park, New Jersey. “We do believe there will continue to be an underlying improvement in economic trends over the course of this year. There are other economic numbers that trump this report -- it’s not a game-changer.”

Macy’s Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. are among 12 companies in the S&P 500 scheduled to disclose results this week, giving investors insight into how retailers performed during the winter months.

Earnings Season

About 76 percent of the S&P 500 companies that have released results this earnings season have beaten estimates for profit, while 53 percent have exceeded revenue projections, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Investors have added $504 million to U.S. equity exchange- traded funds in the past five days and put $1.2 billion in bond ETFs, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Energy stocks saw the most money added among industry ETFs, increasing $301 million during the past week. Technology ETFs saw $808 million in outflows over the same period.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, a gauge for U.S. stock volatility known as the VIX, fell 0.8 percent to 12.13, the lowest level since August. The gauge has fallen 43 percent since reaching a two-year high on Feb. 3.

Six of the 10 main S&P 500 groups rose today, with energy shares adding 0.2 percent to pace gains. Phone stocks retreated 0.7 percent as a group for the biggest decline.

AT&T Inc. lost 1 percent to $36.20 after people familiar with the matter said the company has held advanced talks to acquire DirecTV for about $50 billion. DirecTV slipped 1.2 percent to $86.08. The company and AT&T have discussed an offer of as much as $100 per share, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Keurig Green Mountain climbed 7.6 percent to $119.07. Coca- Cola increased its stake in the maker of household coffee machines to 16 percent, three months after acquiring a 10 percent holding. Coca-Cola’s wholly owned subsidiary Atlantic Industries now owns 19.5 million shares in Keurig, according to a regulatory filing.

McKesson Rallies

McKesson advanced 3.3 percent to $180. The largest U.S. drug wholesaler said adjusted earnings per share amounted to $2.55 in the fourth quarter of its financial year, more than the $2.39 that analysts had projected. Revenue in the three months through March totaled $38.1 billion, beating the $35.9 billion average estimate.

An S&P index of homebuilders rose for a third day, rallying 0.7 percent. Lennar Corp. increased 1.4 percent to $39.78, while D.R. Horton Inc. climbed 2.2 percent to $23.07.

Whirlpool slid 2.8 percent to $151.55 after Longbow Research LLC cut the company’s rating to neutral from buy.

Elizabeth Arden Inc. tumbled 23 percent, the most since 2009, to $27.50. The maker of Elizabeth Taylor and Britney Spears-branded perfumes reported quarterly revenue that missed analysts’ estimates.

--With assistance from Corinne Gretler in Zurich.