* Investor focus turns to economic data after central bank
* Homebuilder sentiment rises to six-year high
* FedEx dips after lowering profit outlook
* AMD shares drop as CFO to leave
* Indexes: Dow down 0.03 pct, S&P off 0.2 pct, Nasdaq off
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Sept 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks slipped on
T uesday, pulling back after last week's central bank stimulus
rally as bellwether FedEx cut its profit forecast.
U.S. stocks have rallied nearly 6 percent since the start
of August, propelling the S&P 500 index to levels not seen in
nearly five years as central banks in Europe and the United
States acted to buttress flagging economies. But analysts say
that for the rally to continue, economic data must improve.
"We've gotten to the point where price momentum was such the
market averages were overextended at the end of last week," said
Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co
in Lake Oswego, Oregon. "Now we have this quiet period."
FedEx Corp cut its profit forecast for its fiscal year 2013,
saying that a weakening world economy had prompted customers to
shift toward lower-priced shipping. Its shares fell 2.5 percent
to $87.08 and the Dow Jones transportation average lost
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.80 point,
or 0.01 percent, at 13,552.30. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was down 3.05 points, or 0.21 percent, at 1,458.14. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 3.08 points, or 0.10
percent, at 3,175.60.
Estimates for third-quarter profits have fallen sharply in
recent months, and S&P 500 earnings for the quarter are expected
to show a year-over-year decline, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Apple Inc, which broke sales records with its new
smartphone, set another all-time high at $701.44 a share before
slipping 0.1 percent to $699.07.
Helping to weigh on the tech sector, Advanced Micro Devices
Inc shares tumbled 8.2 percent to $3.68 after company
said its chief financial officer was leaving the struggling
personal computer chipmaker. The stock was the biggest
percentage decliner on the PHLX semiconductor index,
which lost 0.4 percent.
Helping to limit the day's decline, U.S. homebuilder
sentiment rose for the fifth month in a row in September to its
highest level in over six years, the National Association of
Home Builders said. It was a fresh sign of momentum for the
struggling housing market.
The PHLX housing sector index, however, was down 0.9
Aside from more economic reports on housing this week,
investors will get readings on manufacturing. The Philadelphia
Federal Reserve's survey of activity in the mid-Atlantic region,
as well as the Markit manufacturing purchasing manager's index
for September, are due on T hur sday.
Data on Monday showed factory activity in New York state
fell to its lowest level in nearly 3-1/2 years.