Stocks retreat with dollar as crops lead advance in commodities

U.S. stocks fell, halting the longest rally for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (CME:SPU13) since January, as Coca-Cola Co. slid after earnings declined and a Federal Reserve official called for cuts to stimulus. Treasuries (CBOT:ZBU13) were little changed, the dollar weakened and crops rallied.

The S&P 500 fell for the first time in nine sessions, losing 0.5% to 1,674.77 at 3:29 p.m. in New York after closing at a record yesterday. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 0.7%, retreating from a six-week high. The dollar (NYBOT:DXQ13) slipped against 15 of 16 major peers, while 10-year Treasury yields were little changed at 2.52%. Cocoa, coffee, nickel and soybeans led the S&P GSCI index to a 0.2% gain.

U.S. equities extended losses as Fed Bank of Kansas City President Esther George, who has voted against quantitative easing this year, told Fox Business Network that cuts to the central bank’s bond buying are appropriate as the economy picks up steam. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will speak to Congress tomorrow. In Europe, German investor confidence unexpectedly dropped in July, data from the ZEW Center for European Economic Research showed.

“Hawkish comments from Kansas City Fed President George as to the timing of adjustments to the Fed’s bond purchases are putting modest pressure on the indices,” Ryan Larson, the Chicago-based head of U.S. equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management (U.S.) Inc., said in an interview. His firm oversees $290 billion. “Outside of that, earnings are in the early stages and many are waiting for Chairman Bernanke’s testimony to Congress tomorrow for further direction about future Fed policy.”

Earnings Season

Per-share earnings have topped estimates at about 72% of the 36 companies in the S&P 500 that have released earnings so far in this reporting season, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the world’s most profitable securities firm before the financial crisis, slipped 1.2% even after earnings beat estimates. Fixed-income, currency and commodity trading revenue was $2.46 billion, down 23% from the first quarter. That compared with analysts’ estimates of $2.67 billion from Citigroup Inc.’s Keith Horowitz.

Coca-Cola lost 2% after unseasonable weather and slowing economic growth restrained sales around the globe. Johnson & Johnson was little changed after its earnings more than doubled in the second quarter after it sold its stake in Elan Corp. and the company boosted its profit forecast. Cintas Corp. retreated 1.9% after the uniform maker forecast earnings for the current fiscal year that were below estimates.

The U.S. earnings season “seems to have started off quite well, and we need the fundamentals to come through to support where prices have gone over the past year,” said Keith Poore, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. in Wellington, which manages more than $130 billion.

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