US STOCKS-Wall St flat as materials offset energy; Facebook slips

miércoles 29 de octubre de 2014 12:01 GYT

* Facebook shares down as expenses seen rising

* Orbital Sciences falls after rocket explosion

* Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P flat, Nasdaq down 0.4 pct (Updates to midday, changes comment)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Oct 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday as a drop in basic materials shares offset gains in the energy sector, with traders looking ahead to a statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve as it winds down its stimulus program.

The Nasdaq Composite was pressured by a decline in Facebook shares as investors fretted over its spending plans.

DuPont, down 2 percent at $66.62, was the largest drag on the materials sector of the S&P 500 after it said there were "competitive advantages" in keeping its businesses together. Activist investor Nelson Peltz has urged DuPont to separate its various businesses in a move that has supported the company's shares.

Equities mostly held on to recent gains, with the S&P 500 up 6.6 percent in the last nine sessions as earnings have mostly been strong. So far this reporting season, 73.5 percent of S&P 500 companies have exceeded profit expectations. In a typical quarter since 1994, 63 percent of companies beat estimates, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"The trend today is company-specific," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst, Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.   Continuación...