* Dow down 0.3 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq flat
(Updates to late morning, changes byline)
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little
changed Wednesday as energy shares were hit by lower oil
prices, while tepid corporate earnings failed to inspire
Among retailers reporting results, Target reported weak
same-store sales but its shares rebounded from earlier losses
after the company said it would open 20 or more new stores next
year and more than 30 in 2012.
Meanwhile, warehouse club operator BJ's Wholesale Club Inc
missed profit expectations, sending its shares down 4.2
percent at $41.50. Target gained 1.8 percent to $51.59 after
earlier losing about 3 percent. The rebound lifted the consumer
discretionary sector and helped indexes come off their lows.
"You're hearing more of the same from the retailers that
the second half appears it might not be the easiest. While
consumers may be coming to the stores just as often, it doesn't
seem to be they're spending any more," said Kurt Brunner,
portfolio manager at Swarthmore Group in Philadelphia,
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 31.63 points,
or 0.30 percent, to 10,374.22. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
eased 2.23 points, or 0.20 percent, to 1,090.31. The
Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 0.02 point at
Also on the earnings front, Deere & Co beat
estimates but said sales were "far below normal levels" and
pointed to deteriorating conditions in Europe. Deere lost 1.4
percent to $66.26.
Energy shares led the way down as crude oil futures dropped
more than 2 percent. Chevron Corpdropped 1.4 percent
to $76.65 and Exxon Mobil Corp was off 1.8 percent to
$59.75 and were the biggest drags on the Dow industrials.
The S&P 500 index was also trading around its 50-day moving
average, struggling to break it decisively. The 50-day average
is currently around 1,088.
The inability to push through that level with conviction is
illustrative of an unenthusiastic market as investors reassess
their outlook on the economy, said Brunner.
"You don't have the energy to push it through and that
might take a little while," Brunner said.
Gains in technology stocks tempered declines as an 1.4
percent gain in Cisco Systemshelped the Nasdaq fare
better than the other indexes.
Analog Devices Incrose 2.7 percent to $29.60 a day
after the microchip maker posted a quarterly profit that topped
estimates and issued a better-than-expected fourth-quarter
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)