New Europe drama closes Wall Street’s winning run

US stock edged lower yesterday, ending a five-day rally for the Standard & Poor’s 500, as talks to resolve Greece’s debt crisis hit a snag and earnings from a number of blue chips disappointed.

Greece moved closer to the possibility of a chaotic default as talks to restructure the country’s debt stalled. However, the US market has been less sensitive to the Greek drama of late. Doug Cote, chief market strategist at ING Investment Management, said: “The situation in Greece has raised concerns and the market has pulled back, but I don't think it is impacting the market as much [as before].”

Corporate earnings did not inspire buying. Among the day’s earnings disappointments were Verizon Communications and Travelers Cos.

However Apple shares jumped nine per cent to $457.12 in post-session trading after the electronics company reported results that blew past Wall Street’s estimates, primarily on a huge jump in sales of iPhones and iPads. Apple’s announcement lifted Nasdaq 100 index futures 25.75 points, or around 1.1 per cent, late yesterday, but the news may not be enough to pull stocks higher in today’s trading session.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished down 33.07 points, or 0.26 per cent, at 12,675.75. The S&P 500 Index was down 1.37 points, or 0.10 per cent, at 1,314.63. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 2.47 points, or 0.09 per cent, at 2,786.64.

McDonald’s reported stronger-than-expected December sales, but its shares fell 2.2 per cent on investor concerns its profit may have beat expectations only because of income unrelated to operations.