The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Business

April 18, 2013

Slight decline in early trading on Wall Street

NEW YORK — Disappointing earnings results weighed on the stock market in early trading on Thursday, following two steep drops this week.

Shortly after 10:30 a.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was off 35 points at 14,584, a decline of 0.2 percent. The Dow lost 138 points the day before and is down 2 percent for the week.

Morgan Stanley, Pepsi and others joined in the parade of companies turning in quarterly results Thursday. Morgan Stanley sank 5 percent to $20.47 after reporting a drop in earnings and revenue. It made less money from trading bonds and commodities, a common theme for many investment banks.

Ebay’s stock sank 5 percent to $53.38 after the online auction company cut its forecast for profits in the current quarter.

Verizon, Pepsi and Union Pacific surged after reporting quarterly results. Verizon Communications’ profits beat analysts’ predictions as wireless revenue kept rising at a rate that’s the envy of the industry. Profits and sales for Pepsi also surpassed estimates. Verizon’s stock gained 3 percent to $51.09, while Pepsi climbed 5 percent to $82.78.

Higher shipping rates pushed Union Pacific’s profit up 11 percent, and the railroad said it expects shipping to pick up later this year. Union Pacific rose 4 percent to $142.11.

After the closing bell, the tech sector weighs in with earnings from IBM, Google and Microsoft.

The market didn’t get any help from economic news early Thursday.

The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits increased 4,000 last week to 352,000. The slight gain suggests that the sluggish hiring seen in March may not last. Applications are a proxy for layoffs.

Also, the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve reported a slowdown in manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic region. The survey was weaker than economists had been expecting.

In other trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell four points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,547. The Nasdaq composite fell 15 points, or 0.5 percent, to 3,188.

In the market for U.S. government bonds, Treasury prices rose and their yields fell as traders moved money into low-risk assets.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped back to 1.69 percent, near its lowest level of the year. That’s down from 1.70 percent late Wednesday.

Commodities prices held steady following sharp falls earlier this week. Crude oil was little changed at $86 a barrel and copper was down 2 cents at $3.16 a pound. Gold edged up $9 to $1,392 an ounce.

On Monday gold had its biggest plunge in 30 years as U.S. inflation receded and worries escalated that European central banks might start selling gold. Crude has lost $10 a barrel over the past two weeks as the outlook for the global economy weakens and oil supplies remain high.

 

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