Categories: Economic News

Markets mixed, Dow lower as tech issues ease

Wall Street delivered another mixed finish for stocks on Thursday, as disappointing quarterly results from several major technology companies offset gains elsewhere in the market.

The S&P 500 fell 0.6%, with nearly 44% of stocks in the benchmark index losing ground. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 1.6%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6%.

Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. plunged 24.6% for the S&P 500’s biggest decliner after reporting a second straight quarter of revenue declines on Wednesday afternoon amid of falling advertising sales and stiff competition from TikTok. It joined other technology and communications stocks, including Google parent Alphabet Inc. and Microsoft Corp., in reporting weak results this week. Alphabet fell 2.9% and Microsoft fell 2%. Inc. fell 19% in after-hours trading after the retail giant issued a sales estimate for the final quarter of the year that fell well short of analysts’ forecasts. The stock fell 4.1% in regular trading ahead of the release of its latest quarterly results.

Construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. rose 7.7% after handily beating analysts’ third-quarter profit forecasts. The big gain helped boost the 30-company Dow.

Another pullback in long-term Treasury yields helped support shares of companies that did not report quarterly results. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, fell to 3.91% from 4.01% on Wednesday afternoon. The 2-year yield fell from 4.42% to 4.30%.

“What you’re seeing is some relief,” said Megan Horneman, chief investment officer at Verdence Capital Advisors. “The earnings aren’t huge, but they aren’t horrible either.”

The S&P 500 fell 23.30 points to 3,807.30. The Dow rose 194.17 points to 32,033.28. The Nasdaq fell 178.31 points to 10,792.68.

Shares of smaller companies held up better than the broader market. The Russell 2000 added 1.99 points, or 0.1%, to 1,806.32.

Excluding the Nasdaq, the major indexes are poised for weekly gains. And the S&P 500 remains solidly on track to end October in the green.

Earnings have been the big focus on Wall Street this week, but markets got some encouraging economic news on Thursday as the government reported that the US economy returned to growth last quarter, expanding by 2 .6% This is a turnaround after the economy contracted in the first half of the year.

The economy has been pressured by stubbornly hot inflation and the Federal Reserve’s efforts to raise interest rates in order to cool prices. The central bank is trying to slow economic growth through rate hikes, but the strategy risks going too far and triggering a recession.

The increase in interest rates has made borrowing more difficult, especially with mortgage rates. Average long-term US mortgage rates topped 7% for the first time in more than two decades this week.

The latest economic data is being watched closely for any signs of a slowdown or that inflation may be easing as Wall Street tries to determine if and when the Fed might pull back its interest rate hikes.

The central bank is expected to raise interest rates by another three-quarters of a percentage point at its next meeting in November. But traders have grown more confident that it will taper to a more modest increase of 0.50 percentage points in December, according to CME Group.

Central banks around the world have also raised interest rates in an effort to control inflation. The European Central Bank piled on another outsized increase in interest rates on Thursday. Markets in Europe were mixed.

Wall Street has more earnings to review on Friday, including Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Charter Communications.

Information for this article was contributed by Joe McDonald and Matt Ott of The Associated Press.


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