US stocks fluctuated between gains and losses after witnessing their best three-day run in two months.
Revenues from General Electric Co and Morgan Stanley cancelled out dismal sales from search engine giant Google Inc and International Business Machines Corp.
General Electric added 2.4% after posting better-than forecast results. Morgan Stanley climbed 3.2% as surge in trading revenue bolstered profits beyond estimates.
Google lost 3.9% as surging costs and change to mobile phone advertising ate into revenue. IBM slid 3.5% after announcing below-estimates sales. United Health Group Inc sank 3.4% after profits tumbled due to reductions in the firm’s Medicare Advantage Program.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost a fraction of a point to 1,861.71 as of 12:24 pm in New York, after tumbling as low as 0.3% earlier. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 26.42 points 0.2% to hit 16,398.43 on Thursday.
US stock markets will close on Friday for a holiday.
Fund manager Lawrence Creatura of Federated Investors Inc told Bloomberg that this time of the year is all about earnings reports.
“We’ve come through that quiet period that proceeds earnings, where the macro data takes the stage. Today company specific news will dominate,” he said.
Twenty-five firms in the S&P 500 posted their earnings on Thursday. Bloomberg Analysts estimates indicate that first quarter per share profit for the index’s companies probably gained 0.7%.
However, Thomson Reuters’ estimates for the same index showed per share earnings increment of 1.7% on Thursday, up from 0.6 on Wednesday, suggesting that most firms that reported their quarterly earnings in the last 24 hours surpassed estimates.
Western Union plunged 5% down to $15.24 after Wal-Mart declared plans to roll out a local money transfer service in a joint venture with Ria Money Transfer, a Euronet Worldwide subsidiary.
MoneyGram International was down to $15.27 after tumbling 15.1%. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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