* Intel and IBM slump after results, weigh on Dow
* Bank of America shares volatile in heavy trading
* Housing starts surge in Sept, lifting homebuilders
* Dow down 0.1 pct, S&P up 0.3 pct, Nasdaq up 0.2 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 edged higher for
its third straight day of gains on Wednesday, lifted by signs of
strength in the housing market, but gains were limited by weak
tech company results.
Both Intel Corp and IBM tumbled a day after
they reported results, keeping the Dow in negative territory as
IBM alone contributed a 66-point drag to the blue chip average.
Intel gave a weak fourth-quarter revenue outlook while IBM
posted third-quarter revenue that came in under expectations.
Intel slumped 3.8 percent to $21.49 while IBM lost 4.5 percent
to $201.48. Both were among the biggest drags on the Dow and
"These are some fairly big disappointments, and while we
think we'll see better results out of tech, it's clear the
market doesn't think we'll see much growth in names like Intel
or IBM," said Richard Sichel, who oversees $1.8 billion as chief
investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co.
Bank of America rose 0.7 percent in a volatile
session after reporting breakeven results, which were sharply
lower from the previous year.
The results did little to clarify the strength of the
financial sector. Earlier this week, results from Citigroup
and Goldman Sachs indicated improvement in the
group, though those reports came after disappointments from
JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
Homebuilder Toll Brothers climbed 3 percent to
$34.97 after housing starts surged to the fastest pace in four
years while D.R. Horton gained 3.7 percent to $21.52.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 6.38
points, or 0.05 percent, at 13,545.40. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 4.62 points, or 0.32 percent, at 1,459.54.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 5.58 points, or 0.18
percent, at 3,106.75.
The S&P just notched its best two-day advance in a month, a
rise of 1.8 percent. Those gains came as some disappointments
early in the earnings season were offset by strong results from
such bellwethers as Johnson & Johnson.
Earnings for S&P 500 components are seen falling 2.4 percent
from a year ago, with the main culprit the slowing global
economy, according to Thomson Reuters data. With 11 percent of
S&P companies having reported, 64 percent have beaten earnings
expectations, slightly less than the average for the past four
Apollo Group Inc plummeted 17 percent to $22.85 as
the S&P's biggest decliner a day after giving a weak 2013
ASML agreed to buy Cymer, its key
supplier of a light-based technology crucial to making a new
generation of much smaller chips, for $2.5 billion. Cymer surged
58 percent to $75.66.