NEW YORK, Oct. 18 -- U.S. stocks managed to end higher on Wednesday as upbeat housing numbers offset bad performance of IBM and Intel.
When the market closed, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 5.22 points, or 0.04 percent, to 13,557.00. The Standard & Poor's 500 was up 5.99 points, or 0.41 percent, to 1,460.91. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.95 points, or 0.10 percent, to 3,104.12.
Wednesday's economic data followed the recent pattern, continuing to show that the U.S. economy was gaining some strength. According to the Commerce Department, U.S. housing starts climbed 15 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 units in September, the fastest rate in four years. Shares of homebuilders rallied after the report as investors felt the housing market was gradually bottoming out. However, earning reports and forecasts from major tech companies came in worse than expected, weighing on the market.
Shares of IBM plunged nearly 5 percent, the worst performer among 30 Dow components, after the tech giant reported revenue declines in each of its major businesses, including a double-digit percentage slip in hardware sales.
Also weighing on the blue-chip index, Intel tumbled about 2.5 percent after the chip maker cut its revenue estimates for the year-end quarter when it reported results late Tuesday.