Stocks edge lower in early trading; Macy's drops

NEW YORK - The stock market edged lower in early trading Wednesday, led by declines in utilities and phone companies.

Department store stocks also fell after Macy's reported disappointing earnings for the second quarter and cut its forecast for the year.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,692 after the first half-hour of trading.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 48 points, or 0.3 percent, to 15,402. The Nasdaq composite fell 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,682.

Macy's, which operates its namesake stores and Bloomingdales, dropped $2.09, or 4.3 percent, to $46.45 after its profit fell short of analysts' estimates. Macy's blamed shoppers' reluctance to spend for a slip in sales.

Nordstrom, a rival to Macy's, fell 65 cents, or 1 percent, to $59.56. The company reports its second-quarter earnings on Thursday.

Apple rose for a third day, gaining $7.31, or 1.5 percent, to $496.50. Apple jumped 4.75 percent Tuesday after activist investor Carl Icahn said he thinks Apple should be doing more to revive its stock price. Icahn also said he had a large, but unspecified stake, in the company.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 2.71 percent from 2.72 percent Tuesday. The yield, which rises when investors sell bonds, jumped 0.10 percentage points Tuesday on optimism that global growth was set to pick up as the economies that use the euro emerge from recession.

The price of oil fell 49 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $106.33 a barrel. Gold fell $1.40 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $1,318.90 an ounce.

The dollar fell against the euro but rose against the Japanese yen.

Among stocks making big moves:

- SeaWorld, which made its stock market debut in April, slumped $3.31, or 9 percent, to $33.03 after the company reported a loss for the second quarter after paying a $46.3 million fee to Blackstone, the private equity firm that took SeaWorld public.

- Steinway Musical Instruments jumped $2.20, or 6 percent, to $40.47 after agreeing to be purchased for $499 million by the investment firm Paulson & Co.

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