U.S. Stocks Are Mostly Lower as Earnings Fall Short


Investors weren’t impressed with the earnings news from big U.S. companies Friday.

Intel slumped after giving a weak revenue forecast and General Electric dropped after its profit margins fell short. Capital One also fell after the bank’s earnings missed expectations.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 7.19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,838.70. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 41.55 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,458.56. The Nasdaq composite fell 21.11 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,197.58.

The S&P 500 index retreated from a record high close on Wednesday. It ended the week 0.5 percent lower and continued its lackluster start to January.

Still, many investors aren’t ready to give up on the stock market’s latest rally, which capped an exceptionally strong 2013 with a gain of almost 10 percent in the final three months of the year.

“Markets don’t go straight up to the moon,” said Doug Cote, chief market strategist at ING Investment Management. “This flat-lining is the market regrouping … it’s a healthy pause.”

GE slumped 62 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $26.58 after profit margins in the company’s industrial unit fell short of its own targets.

Intel dropped 69 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $25.85 after its first-quarter revenue forecast disappointed Wall Street. Intel said revenue would reach $12.8 billion, “plus or minus” $500 million, less than analysts expected.

The earnings news on Friday wasn’t all bad.

American Express rose $3.19, or 3.6 percent, to $90.97 after the company said late Thursday that its net income more than doubled in the fourth quarter. Amex cardholders boosted their spending and borrowing during the end-of-the-year shopping season. The news also lifted Visa. The payment company’s stock climbed $10.41, or 4.7 percent, to $232.18.

The two companies are members of the Dow and together boosted the blue-chip index by 87 points. Without them, the Dow would have ended the day down.

Morgan Stanley also rose after reporting earnings that beat forecasts. The bank’s stock climbed $1.40, or 4.4 percent, to $33.40. Investors were impressed by improving profitability at the bank’s wealth- management unit, and its pledge to return more capital to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock buybacks, said Shannon Stemm, an analyst at brokerage firm Edward Jones.

About 10 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported fourth-quarter results so far. Despite the disappointing earnings on Friday, profits are still forecast to climb 5.3 percent for the period to a record of $27.76 a share, according to S&P Capital IQ.

Thirteen more companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Delta Air Lines and International Business Machines, will report earnings on Tuesday.

The stock market is closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day legal holiday.

In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year note fell to 2.82 percent from 2.84 percent late Thursday. In commodities trading, the price of oil rose 41 cents to $94.37 a barrel. Gold climbed $11.70, or 0.9 percent, to $1,251 an ounce.

Among other stocks making big moves;

  • Elizabeth Arden plunged $6.54, or 19 percent, to $27.96 in heavy trading. The company gave a dismal forecast for its fiscal second quarter and full year late Thursday, citing weak end-of-the-year sales.
  • United Parcel Service fell 58 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $99.91 after the package delivery company said its earnings would be lower than it previously forecast. The company said an “unprecedented” amount of online shopping, including a surge of last-minute orders, forced it to use more temporary employees than planned.
  • Capital One fell $4.05, or 5.3 percent, to $72.39. The lender said late Thursday that loans fell in its U.S. credit card and home-loan divisions.