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U.S. equity markets failed to break out of negative territory on Wednesday as traders parsed through disappointing economic data and mixed corporate earnings. 

Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 12.7 points lower, or 0.08%, at 16501, the S&P 500 dipped 4.2 points, or 0.22%, to 1875 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 34 points, or 0.83%, to 4127.

The S&P 500 ended its winning streak at six days, leaving the broad-market barometer about 22 points away from its all-time intraday high.

On the earnings front, Boeing (BA) revealed quarterly results that flew past Wall Street's expectations, sending its shares higher. Defense contractor Northrop Grumman (NOC) also rallied after the company overcame weaker revenue to log higher profits.  The Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace & Defense Index climbed 1.4%.

Procter & Gamble (PG), the blue-chip consumer products giant, posted better-than-expected quarterly profits, but sales that missed analysts' views. AT&T (T) revealed a beat on the bottom line, but shares still fell.

Gilead (GILD), the biotech behemoth that took a beating earlier this month as momentum stocks dropped, actually revealed much stronger-than-expected results. 

Apple (AAPL) reported a strong earnings beat after the closing bell. The world’s biggest company by market capitalization also expanded its dividend and share repurchase program. Facebook (FB) also topped consensus estimates for the top and bottom lines.

In economic news, the Commerce Department said sales of newly-constructed homes fell 14.5% to an annualized rate of 384,000 units in March. Economists expected a reading of 450,000 units. Construction and housing-related stocks, such as Owens Corning (OC) and Whirlpool (WHR), widely sold off on the news.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures continued to trade lower after government data revealed record-high supplies. Nymex oil was down to $101.51 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline traded near breakeven at $3.04 a gallon. Gold advanced $3.60, or 0.28%, to $1,284.70 a troy ounce.

Follow Adam Samson on Twitter @adamsamson. 

Follow Matthew Rocco on Twitter @MatthewRocco