January 28, 2015 / 2:42 PM / 6 years ago

Apple, Boeing keep Wall St afloat; energy weighs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were buoyed on Wednesday by earnings including Apple and Boeing, but a sharp drop in energy shares cut into gains, leaving indexes little changed.

A Wall Street sign is pictured in front of the New York Stock Exchange, open during Winter Storm Juno, in the Manhattan borough of New York January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The Federal Reserve’s first two-day policy meeting of the year is under way, and the Fed is expected to signal it remains on track to begin raising interest rates later this year.

The Nasdaq Composite outperformed, powered by a 6.9 percent advance in Apple shares to $116.71. Apple smashed Wall Street expectations with record sales of big-screen iPhones in the holiday shopping season, which helped the company post the largest quarterly profit in corporate history.

Boeing added 6 percent to $140.41 after handily beating top- and bottom-line expectations.

But the energy sector of the S&P 500 dropped 2 percent as U.S. crude futures tumbled and after Barclays and Goldman Sachs posted bearish notes on oil.

“The global economy is still very weak,” said Michael Yoshikami, CEO at Destination Wealth Management in Walnut Creek, California, pointing to the Goldman note. “I’m not surprised energy is struggling.”

Regarding earnings, he said Apple was “spectacular” and partly offset the current negative sentiment over earnings.

At 12:00 EST (1700 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average rose 46.3 points, or 0.27 percent, to 17,433.51, the S&P 500 gained 0.96 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,030.51 and the Nasdaq Composite added 12.48 points, or 0.27 percent, to 4,693.98.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,860 to 1,100, for a 1.69-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,764 issues fell and 842 advanced, for a 2.10-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

Yahoo pared a gain of nearly 5 percent and was up 0.6 percent at $48.27 after it unveiled plans to spin off its 15 percent stake in Alibaba Group Holding, responding to pressure to hand over to shareholders its e-commerce investment valued at roughly $40 billion.

But Alibaba shares fell 4 percent to $98.79 after a Chinese regulator accused the e-commerce company of failing to clean up what it called illegal business deals on its platforms.

U.S. Steel Corp’s shares rallied 12.9 percent to $24.01 the day after its profit beat expectations. The company warned that low oil prices and the strong U.S. dollar could negatively impact its business in 2015, but said potential higher consumer spending could help lift demand.

The S&P 500 was posting 58 new 52-week highs and 10 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 66 new highs and 44 new lows.

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski

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