Stocks edge lower; Deere, Fossil sink

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged lower in morning trading Wednesday, a day after the stock market closed at a record high.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell four points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,893 as of 11:24 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 54 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,660. The Nasdaq composite fell 11 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,118.

TOUCHING A MILESTONE: The S&P 500 crossed 1,900 for the first time during trading Tuesday, but closed slightly below that level. The S&P 500 has been rising over the last month as investors become optimistic that the economy will start to accelerate this year following a cold winter that stymied growth.

THE QUOTE: Almost all of the companies in the S&P 500 have finished reporting their first-quarter earnings. Earnings rose 3.3 percent for the period, and almost 70 percent of companies reported results that exceeded analysts' expectations. Many Wall Street analysts had low expectations due to the harsh winter, said Jim Russell, a regional investment director at US Bank. Expectations for growth will be higher for the rest of the year.

"The will be no excuses for the second, third and fourth quarter," said Russell. "Companies have to deliver for the market to maintain these record levels."

DEERE ME: Deere fell $2.11, or 2.3 percent, to $91.52 after the company reported a 9.5 percent decline in second-quarter net income as demand for farming equipment weakened. The company cut its full-year sales forecast.

FOSSIL FALL: Fossil Group fell $9.24, or 8.3 percent, to $102.21 after the watch, jewelry and accessories maker said late Tuesday that its first-quarter net income fell 8 percent, despite sales gains across all its business segments. The quarter's results beat market expectations, but the company gave a weak forecast.

TREASURYS AND COMMODITIES: Government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.54 percent from 2.61 percent. The price of oil rose 78 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $102.47 a barrel.