Stocks mostly dip as Intel drags

Today’s macro data has been not too bad, but earnings have been less than stellar.

While the Dow was still up on the day half an hour before the bell on Wall Street, the S&P 500 and NASDAQ 100 were both substantially in negative territory, lowered most notably by a 3.5% fall in Intel.

The chip manufacturer reported quarterly earnings after the close yesterday evening that missed expectations by just a cent a share, while revenue beat forecasts, rising 3% from a year ago. It’s not such a bad performance, considering the PC market’s rough patch in 2013: PC shipments were down 10% last year, but Intel’s PC client revenues dropped just 4% for the year.

The company’s data centre continues to expand, with revenue growing 8% from a year ago, but falling short of the double-digit growth that perhaps some were hoping for, which may go some way to explaining the stock's poor performance today.

‘We had a solid fourth quarter with signs of stabilization in the PC segment and financial growth from a year ago,’ claimed CEO Brian Krzanich. Intel’s future may hinge to a significant degree on whether it can make a proper dent in the tablet market. The company has been slow to deliver in this area, although it did see sales of 10-million Intel-based tablets last year. Mr Krzanich has stated a goal of 40 million for 2014. Competitor Advance Micro Devices reports next Tuesday.

UPS, which is due to report for its last quarter at the end of the month, dropped 0.67% today after saying it expects to report earnings of $.125 per share, well below the $1.43 that was the average expectation of analysts polled by Reuters.

The US stock market is shut on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr Day. Earnings resume in full force on Tuesday when we will hear from technology bellwether IBM, and fellow Dow-component Johnson & Johnson.

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