Jan 28 - Summary of business headlines: Yahoo quarterly results top forecasts as paid clicks and search revenue climb; Apple regains most valuable company status; Caterpillar takes big fraud-related charge but stock still rallies. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street takes a break from the four-week climb that has pushed the stock market to a five-year peak. The Dow and the S&P 500 snapped their winning streaks, but the Nasdaq edged higher. After the closing bell, revenues were up at Yahoo, beating forecasts - led by double-digit growth in paid clicks and search revenue. Display revenue, however, was down 5 percent. Overall earnings, excluding special items, topped forecasts. Meanwhile, Apple shares rally and the techie is once again the world's most valuable company. Some investors sense a buying opportunity with the stock down about 40 percent from its all time high. Caterpillar suffered a 55-percent drop in quarterly profits. The heavy duty equipment maker had to write down most of the $650 million it paid for a Chinese company last year - why? accounting fraud. But that was not Caterpillar's only problem, global sales are down, inventories are high, and the CEO expects a tough 2013. But investor faith in the longer term is unshaken, judging by the two-percent rise in the stock. There was much by way of economic snapshots to consider. The supply of homes under $100,000 is drying up - leading to the first drop in pending home sales in four months. Meanwhile, orders for durable goods surged a stronger-than-expected 4.6 percent in December. Retail sales are likely to grow 3.4 percent in 2013, down from the rate in 2012, according to the National Retail Federation. The reason for the expected slowdown: the impact of continued confusion in Washington on consumer confidence. In European action, new peaks for parts of the market amid signs the global economy is on a stronger footing.