Stocks were little changed on Friday as a profit miss from Caterpillar and disappointing sales from Microsoft offset strong earnings from GE and McDonald's and a new deal to help Greece.
General Electric Co
Overall this earnings season is strong, and GE especially looked good overall, but you can never ignore what Caterpillar says, said Sal Catrini, managing director for equities at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co in New York.
Caterpillar tellingly spoke of an uncertain business environment, which shouldn't be a surprise, but it is weighing on the stock, and on Deere.
Deere & Co
Caterpillar is seen as a barometer of economic activity by investors, and the stock was the best performing Dow component of 2010. On Friday, it was the index's top drag.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 11.81 points, or 0.09 percent, at 12,712.60. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 0.94 points, or 0.07 percent, at 1,344.74. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 10.39 points, or 0.37 percent, at 2,844.82.
Euro zone leaders agreed on a second rescue package for Greece that could trigger a temporary default and would give a financial rescue fund broader powers to try to prevent a spread of market instability.
Worries that euro-zone debt contagion could reach regions where U.S. banks have more exposure have pressured equities in recent weeks.
Verizon Communications Inc
Equities have also been pressured by the drawn-out wrangling on a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling. U.S. President Barack Obama and top lawmakers grappled to reach a sweeping deficit-reduction deal.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)