NEW YORK - U.S. stocks fluctuated, after the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose to a record Thursday, as reports showed consumer spending unexpectedly declined last month while confidence slid more than estimated.
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. dropped 11 percent after quarterly results missed estimates. Express Inc. fell 13 percent as the retail chain cut its annual profit forecast. Infoblox Inc. sank 39 percent after lowering its full-year projections and saying its CEO will leave. OmniVision Technologies Inc. jumped 12 percent after predicting quarterly earnings will rise more than analysts expect.
The S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent to 1,921.25 at 10:18 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 14.82 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,683.92. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 27 percent below the 30-day average during this time of day.
“The market is almost trading directionally sideways,” Kevin Mahn, president and chief investment officer of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management in Parsippany, N.J., said in a phone interview. His firm oversees more than $600 million. “There is no volatility, and investors are waiting for the next signal whether they put more in or take more out.”
The S&P 500 Thursday climbed to its highest level on record, taking its 2014 gains to 3.9 percent and shrugging off a report showing the U.S. economy contracted for the first time in three years from January through March. The gauge has rebounded 5.8 percent since a selloff in small-cap and Internet shares spread to the broader market and dragged the gauge to a two-month low in April. It has advanced 2 percent in May, heading for its fourth consecutive monthly increase.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index slipped 0.8 percent to 11.48 today. It is about 3 points from a record low.
Consumer spending unexpectedly fell in April after the biggest surge in almost five years as incomes slowed. Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, dropped 0.1 percent, the first decrease in a year, after a revised 1 percent gain the prior month that was the strongest reading since August 2009, Commerce Department figures showed.
Federal Reserve policy makers said at their April meeting that the economy has strengthened after adverse weather took its toll. Central-bank stimulus has helped propel the S&P 500 higher by 184 percent from its bear-market low in March 2009. The gauge now trades at 16.3 times the projected earnings of its members, up from a multiple of 14.8 times four months ago.
Consumer confidence in the world’s largest economy fell more than forecast in May, a sign consumer spending may be slow to pick up in the second quarter. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of sentiment dropped to 81.9 in May from 84.1 in April. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 82.5 after an initial May reading of 81.8, less than initially estimated.