U.S. Stocks Mixed; Telecom Gains Offset Drops for Tech Stocks

The New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

U.S. stock indexes were mixed in Thursday afternoon trading as losses for tech and industrial companies offset another big gain for telecoms.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped by 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,473 as of 1 p.m. Eastern time. Earlier in the day, it had been up by 6 points to extend its record run.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 39 points, or 0.2 percent, to 21,750; and the Nasdaq composite fell 33 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,390. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks fell 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,437.

EARNINGS AT CENTER STAGE: Close to half of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported their earnings for the latest quarter, and the results have been mostly encouraging. Not only are profits growing, but so are revenues for many companies.

“It’s nice to see the broadness of the quality of earnings,” said Nate Thooft, senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management. “It’s not just one sector or the other but a fairly broad swath of earnings growth.”

Expectations were high coming into the reporting season, though. Companies’ stocks are getting less of a boost than usual after reporting earnings that beat analysts’ forecasts, Thooft said. At the same time, companies seem to be getting punished more than usual for falling short of expectations, with deeper drops in stock prices.

ADD A LINE: Verizon Communications is on track for its biggest one-day gain in eight years after it reported more revenue than analysts expected. Many more new wireless phone customers signed up for Verizon service than Wall Street had forecast. Verizon jumped $3.09, or 7 percent, to $47.49.

A day ago, AT&T made its biggest move since 2008 after it reported stronger-than-expected earnings. It rose $1.34, or 3.5 percent, to $39.37 Thursday. Verizon is up 8 percent so far over the last two days, and AT&T is up 8.5 percent.

LIKE IT: Facebook rose $5.16, or 3.1 percent, to $170.77 after it reported stronger-than-expected earnings. Its advertising revenue rose by nearly half from a year earlier, and Wall Street was pleased with the company’s spending forecasts.

DON’T CHANGE THE CHANNEL: Media companies climbed after cable providers Comcast and Charter Communications gave their quarterly reports. Charter jumped $14.77, or 4.2 percent, to $363.54; and Comcast added 29 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $39.64. Elsewhere, Twenty-First Century Fox climbed $1.02, or 3.6 percent, to $29.20; while Viacom gained $1.20, or 3.5 percent, to $35.57.

LUNG CANCER STUDY: Drugmaker AstraZeneca plunged after it said its lung cancer drug Imfinzi did not reach its goals in a clinical trial. The company said patients treated with Imfinzi did not have better progression-free survival, or the amount of times patients lived until either death or disease progression, compared to chemotherapy. U.S.-listed shares of AstraZeneca dropped $5.29, or 15.6 percent, to $28.65. Competitor Bristol-Myers Squibb tumbled $1.79, or 3.2 percent, to $54.20 as investors grew more pessimistic about studies of some of its drugs.

BLOCK IT: Twitter dropped $2.75, or 14 percent, to $16.86. It reported better-than-expected quarterly results, but it also said that its monthly average user base did not grow from the prior quarter.

HEAVY INDUSTRY: Industrial companies also struggled. Johnson Controls tumbled $3.44, or 7.9 percent, to $39.88. It reported weaker-than-expected revenue for the latest quarter and trimmed the upper end of the range for its forecast for full-year earnings per share.

United Parcel Service fell $5.06, or 4.5 percent, to $107.23 as investors were disappointed that the logistics company didn’t raise its annual forecast.

However, aerospace company Boeing continued to soar. It rose $4.85, or 2.1 percent, to $238.30. Boeing jumped almost 10 percent Wednesday after a strong second-quarter report.

YIELDS: The 10-year yield rose to 2.31 percent from 2.28 percent late Wednesday. The two-year yield remained at 1.35 percent, and the 30-year yield climbed to 2.93 percent from 2.89 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 111.21 Japanese yen from 111.30 yen late Wednesday. The euro dipped to $1.1665 from $1.1725, and the British pound fell to $1.3071 from $1.3100.

COMMODITIES: The price of oil slowed its rapid ascent from the last three days. Benchmark U.S. crude ticked up 33 cents to $49.08 a barrel in New York. It’s close to its highest price since the start of June. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 42 cents to $51.52 per barrel in London.

Gold rose $9.20 to $1,258.60 an ounce, silver gained 13 cents to $16.59 an ounce, and copper remained at $2.88 a pound.

AROUND THE WORLD: France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.1 percent, Germany’s DAX fell 0.8 percent, and the FTSE 100 in London dropped 0.1 percent. The Japanese Nikkei 225 index up 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.7 percent, and the Kospi in South Korea added 0.4 percent.

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