US stocks waver; transports rise but energy companies slip
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are mixed in early trading Wednesday as energy companies fall with the price of oil, but industrial companies including railroads and airlines climb after a round of strong second-quarter reports.
KEEPING SCORE: At 10 a.m. Eastern time, the S&P 500 index was unchanged at 2,809. The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 23 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,143. The Nasdaq composite fell 13 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,841. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks dipped 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,683.
GET MOVING: Transportation companies were off to a powerful start. United Continental surpassed Wall Street projections and said strong demand is resulting in higher prices as the summer travel season sets in. Its stock surged 7.4 percent to $78, while Delta jumped 3.9 percent to $53.13 and American rose 4 percent to $38.86.
Railroad operator CSX said its profit climbed 72 percent in its latest quarter as it kept cutting costs and improving its operations. The results were stronger than analysts expected and the stock added 5.6 percent to $68.4. Other railroads also climbed, with Union Pacific gaining 1.5 percent to $140.37.
Maintenance supply company W.W. Grainger made the biggest gain on the S&P 500 after it blew past analysts’ estimates in the latest quarter. The company posted strong growth in the U.S. with more business with both large and medium size customers and it raised its forecasts for the year. The stock jumped 9 percent to $332.28.
BERKSHIRE BOUNCE: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate said it’s changing its policies on stock repurchases, which raised investors’ hopes that Berkshire will soon do exactly that. The stock jumped 4.1 percent to $198.19.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 1.1 percent to $67.34 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 0.9 percent to $71.49 a barrel in London. U.S. crude has tumbled 9 percent in July but is still up almost 40 percent over the last 12 months.