By Nick Godt, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks ended lower Wednesday, after the Dow Jones Industrial Average backed off an all-time high and technology sector weakness linked to Intel Corp. offset strong results from financial giant J.P. Morgan Chase.
The Dow industrials /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.13% closed down 5.44 points at 12,577.15. Earlier the index reached an all-time high of 10,614.00 in intraday trading.
Steve Goldman of Weeden & Co. the fact that the stock market hasn't had a 2% correction in the last six months suggests stocks "are internally in sound condition." Listen to audio report .
Goldman is expecting "sluggish but higher gains" for the next few months.
Within the Dow, J.P. Morgan Chase shares /zigman2/quotes/205971034/composite JPM -0.66% closed up 4 cents at $48.43. The company said fourth-quarter earnings rose 68%, with help from record investment banking fees and strong markets. See full story.
Crude oil futures prices rebounded from 20-month lows. The February futures contract closed up $1.03 at $52.24 a barrel, giving shares of Exxon Mobil /zigman2/quotes/204455864/composite XOM -1.52% a 1.2% boost. See Futures Movers.
Among other blue chip gainers, Procter & Gamble Co. /zigman2/quotes/202894679/composite PG -0.05% rose 1% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the household products maker, and industrial equipment maker Caterpillar /zigman2/quotes/203434128/composite CAT +0.26% gained 1.2%.
Intel /zigman2/quotes/203649727/composite INTC +0.85% was a standout on the downside, with its shares falling almost 5.6% after the chipmaker said late Tuesday its fourth quarter profit dropped 39% and it forecast flat gross margins in 2007. See full story.
Other decliners included Hewlett-Packard /zigman2/quotes/203461582/composite HPQ +0.09% , IBM /zigman2/quotes/203856914/composite IBM +0.12% , Alcoa /zigman2/quotes/200686102/composite AA +0.54% and Altria /zigman2/quotes/208895754/composite MO -0.02% .
The S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.24% ended down 1.28 point at 1,430.62, while the technology-rich Nasdaq Composite slipped 18.36 points to 2,479.42.
In the broad market for equities, advancing issues topped decliners by 17 to 15 on the New York Stock Exchange, while falling stocks outnumbered winners by 17 to 12 on the Nasdaq stock market. Trading volume was 1.524 billion on the NYSE and over 2.314 billion on the Nasdaq.
By sector, oil , oil services /zigman2/quotes/210598360/realtime OSX -2.09% and gold all closed higher.
Meanwhile, airline stocks declined as rising crude offset a surprising quarterly profit from AMR Corp. and positive results from Southwest Airlines /zigman2/quotes/201071949/composite LUV -1.12% . See Airline Stocks.
Semiconductors /zigman2/quotes/210598361/realtime SOX +1.20% and computer makers lost ground.