January 18

Earnings news depresses Wall Street

Some investors, however, see recent flat-lining as ‘a healthy pause’

The Associated Press

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

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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 holiday season. The news also lifted Visa. The payment company’s stock climbed $10.41, or 4.7 percent, to $232.18.

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