US STOCKS-S&P, Nasdaq dip as Apple weighs

Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:33pm GMT



* Apple demand worries drag on S&P, Nasdaq

* Earnings season picks up this week

* Transocean rises as Icahn acquires stake

* Indexes: Dow up 0.05 pct, S&P off 0.23 pct, Nasdaq off 0.45 pct

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Wall Street slipped on Monday, weighed down by shares of Apple in the face of demand concerns, while investors faced a busy week for earnings in what is expected to be a lackluster quarter.

Apple lost 2.8 percent to $505.84 as the biggest drag on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 indexes after reports that the tech company has cut orders for LCD screens and other parts for the iPhone 5 this quarter due to weak demand. The stock earlier hit a session low of $498.51, the first dip below $500 since February 16.

"There is this speculation building 'Is this the end of Apple?'" said Carol Pepper, chief executive of Pepper International in New York.

But Pepper said Apple also "doesn't have to grow at the rate it was to do extremely well. It's still going to be one of the marquee companies of the U.S. and the world."

Apple suppliers also lost ground, with Cirrus Logic off 6.8 percent to $29.43 and Qualcomm down 1.2 percent to $64.13. The S&P tech sector gave up 0.9 percent as the worst perfomer of the 10 major S&P sectors.

The pace of earnings season picks up this week with 38 S&P 500 companies set to report, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Intel and General Electric .

Overall earnings are expected to grow by just 1.9 percent in this reporting period, according to Thomson Reuters data.

President Barack Obama is expected to hold a news conference, which will cover looming budget and debt ceiling due dates on Monday, White House officials said.

"We could have some more noise because they are trying to get people to focus on their issues, but I don't think they are going" to allow the government to default, said Pepper.

Separately, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will be speaking on monetary policy, recovery from the global financial crisis and long-term challenges facing the American economy at 4 p.m. (2100 GMT).

The Dow Jones industrial average added 6.79 points, or 0.05 percent, to 13,495.22. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 3.37 points, or 0.23 percent, to 1,468.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 14.16 points, or 0.45 percent, to 3,111.48.

Appliance and electronics retailer Hhgregg Inc slumped 9.6 percent to $7.13 after the electronics and appliance retailer cut its same-store sales forecast for the full year.

Transocean Ltd has disclosed that billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn has acquired a 1.56 percent stake in the offshore rig contractor and is looking to increase that holding. Its shares rose 2.5 percent to $55.43.

The Dow, which does not list Apple as one of its components, fared better than the other two indexes as Hewlett-Packard rose 3.8 percent to $16.78 after JPMorgan upgraded its rating on the stock and raised its price target to $21 from $15.