Wall Street shrugs off US rating revision

US stocks ended little changed yesterday, pausing after the previous session’s strong gains and getting only a brief boost when the United States’ credit outlook was revised to stable from negative.

Shares of Apple declined 0.7 per cent to $438.89, reversing early gains to become the biggest drag on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite indexes. The company kicked off its annual conference in San Francisco for its developers.

Homebuilders were among the top decliners, led by losses in Lennar Corp, off 3.3 per cent at $37.31 after JP Morgan downgraded stock to “neutral” from “overweight”.

Analysts said the market was still cautious about when or if the Federal Reserve might reduce its stimulus efforts. The market ended last week with sharp gains, and the Dow posted its best daily percentage increase since 2 January after the US jobs report on Friday eased some of the Fed worries.

The reaction to rating agency Standard & Poor’s revision of the US sovereign credit outlook to stable from negative gave stocks only a short-lived lift. The action put the likelihood of a near-term downgrade of the rating at “less than one in three.” The agency had downgraded the United States to AA+ from AAA in 2011.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 9.53 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 15,238.59. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.57 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 1,642.81. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4.55 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 3,473.77.