Wall St edged lower on GE, Google results

By @ibtimes on

U.S. stocks edged lower on Friday after GE and Google results fell short of expectations, while investors awaited a resolution in the latest round of Greek debt talks.

Google Inc shares slumped 7.7 percent to $590.51 as the biggest drag on the benchmark S&P 500 index after quarterly profit and revenue for the No. 1 Internet search engine missed Wall Street expectations on declining search advertising rates.

General Electric Co lost 2.4 percent to $18.70 after the largest U.S. conglomerate reported roughly flat profit from continuing operations, but revenue missed Wall Street's estimates. Fellow Dow component American Express Co dropped 2.7 percent to $49.58 after its quarterly results.

At this point, we are still at the starting line on earnings season. The good news is that the market has not reacted to the slow start, said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Greece and its private bondholders were converging toward a long-awaited debt swap deal, sources said, with an initial agreement possibly coming late Friday.

Hopes are that an agreement would prevent the nation from spiraling into bankruptcy and bring some stability to the debt-strained euro zone.

Economic news has been a little better than expected, and we've had a lack of bad news from Europe, so investor interest has been buoyed by a little more optimism in terms of investor acceleration, but today just looks like a consolidation day, said Dickson.

Improving economic data in the United States along with signs of euro-zone stability has helped push the S&P 500 up 4.2 percent to start the year.

A strong outlook from International Business Machines Corp and results from Intel Corp and Microsoft Corp signaled that corporate leaders were shaking off nervousness about economic growth and boosting technology spending.

Microsoft shares were up 2.7 percent to $28.87 and IBM gained 2.7 percent to $185.4o to help curb losses on the Dow. Intel edged down 0.2 percent to $25.59.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 5.60 points, or 0.04 percent, to 12,629.58. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dropped 2.93 points, or 0.22 percent, to 1,311.57. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> fell 8.38 points, or 0.30 percent, to 2,779.95.

Parker Hannifin Corp dipped 3.6 percent to $81.89 after the industrial parts maker reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and cut its full-year forecast.

Economic data on existing home sales for December is due from the National Association of Realtors at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT). Economists forecast a 4.65 million annual rate in December, versus 4.42 million in November.

(Reporting By Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Padraic Cassidy)

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