Weak earnings tug stocks lower on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Disappointing earnings news and a slump in bank stocks tugged the stock market lower early Wednesday, putting major indexes on track for their first three-day drop since June.

Banks had the biggest losses in midday trading, following news that the government accused Bank of America of civil fraud.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down seven points, or 0.4 percent, at 1,689 as of 2:45 p.m. Seven of the index’s 10 industry groups were lower.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 66 points, or 0.4 percent, to 15,452. The Nasdaq composite lost 15 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3,650.

Major stock indexes have drifted lower this week, backing away from all-time highs. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 had its biggest one-day drop since June, but only lost 0.6 percent. For the week, the index is off 1.2 percent. The last time the S&P fell three days in a row was June 10-12.

“There’s no real smoking gun to drive the market lower,” said Paul Zemsky, the head of multi-asset strategies at ING Investment Management. “I’m not concerned about the market being down over a few days given how much it’s run up. Put it in context, and it’s not concerning.”

The S&P 500 index closed above 1,700 points for the first time last week and has already surged 19 percent this year. Even if the index stays put for the rest of the year, that would be the biggest gain for the S&P since 2009.

In separate lawsuits filed Tuesday, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission said the country’s second-largest bank failed to tell investors about the risks involved in a 2008 sale of mortgage-backed bonds. BofA fell 19 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $14.45.

Walt Disney reported quarterly earnings late Tuesday that narrowly beat Wall Street’s estimates, but revenue came up short. Disney’s executives also said the company will have to take a steep charge from a weak box-office welcome for “The Lone Ranger” movie this summer. Disney slumped $1.04, or 1.5 percent, to $66.02.

With the second-quarter earnings season winding down, the overall picture looks mixed. Most companies have reported better second-quarter earnings along with weaker revenue.

In other trading Wednesday, crude oil fell 93 cents, or 0.9 percent, to settle at $104.37 a barrel. Gold rose $2.80 to $1,285.30 an ounce.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.60 percent from 2.64 percent late Tuesday.

Among other companies in the news:

— Ralph Lauren Corp. dropped $11.46, or 6 percent, to $177.90. Sluggish sales led the luxury retailer to report a drop in quarterly income early Wednesday. The company also gave a cautious sales forecast.

— First Solar fell $6.79, or 15 percent, to $40. The company posted results late Tuesday that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations and cut its profit outlook.

— Zillow, which operates a real-estate website, dropped $5.81, or 6.5 percent, to $84.81. After the market closed Tuesday, the company reported a loss in the second quarter as its costs nearly doubled.

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