U.S. stocks end narrowly mixed on mixed earnings

11:30, October 29, 2010      

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Wall Street continued its recent cautious trading pattern and ended narrowly mixed on Thursday as investors weighed an unexpected drop in initial unemployment against a latest batch of mixed earnings.

Major indexes opened higher after the Labor Department said that the number filing for jobless benefits fell by 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 434,000 in the week ended October 23, while economists were expecting a small increase. The reading was also the second lowest level this year, giving investor hopes that the jobs market may gradually pick up.

However, morning gains were quickly pared after the release of another batch of mixed earnings, which have already put the market rally on hold in past a few days.

Shares of 3M tumbled nearly 6 percent after the company said its full-year earnings will be 6 cents lower than previously forecast. Apple also slid as the company warned that its profit margins might narrow next year.

On the contrary, Exxon Mobile gained 0.84 percent after the oil giant announced a 55 percent year-on-year gain in its earnings, benefiting from stronger refining margins, higher commodity prices and a 20 percent jump in energy production.

Earnings from Eastman Kodak Co. and Motorola Inc. also came in better than expected.

With the approach of next week's heavy schedule of long- awaited events, including a Federal Reserve meeting in which the central bank is expected to announce additional stimulus measures, midterm elections and the government's report on October non-farm payrolls, investors would rather be cautious than push the market, which was hovering around its 6-month high, a step further.

About five stocks dropped for every four that rose on U.S. exchanges. The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 12.33, or 0.11 percent, to 11,113.95. The Standard &Poor's 500 index added 1.34 points, or 0. 11 percent, to 1,183.79 and the Nasdaq edged up 4.11 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,507.37.

Source: Xinhua


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