US stocks open lower as investors assess corporate earnings; Harman, Yelp plunge

Energy Associated Press

U.S. stocks opened lower in early trading Thursday as investors assessed the latest corporate earnings. Harman International, which makes audio systems for cars, and Yelp, an online listing company, fell sharply after posting weak earnings reports.

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KEPPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 12 points, or 0.6 percent, 2,094 as of 10:06 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 99 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,937 points. The Nasdaq composite slipped 35 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,988.

EARNINGS FLOPS: Harman International Industries, a maker of audio equipment for cars, reported earnings that fell short of analysts' estimates and lowered its own forecast for revenue and earnings. The company blamed the impact of the stronger dollar and weaker growth. Its stock fell $19.70, or 14.1 percent, to $120.35.

Yelp plunged $9.87, or 19 percent, to $41.41 after it reported a loss of $1.3 million in its first quarter and gave a lower-than-expected revenue outlook late Wednesday. Yelp said the number of visitors to its desktop site fell as more users browsed on smartphones and tablets.

EUROPE: Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent while France's CAC 40 gained 0.3 percent. Germany's DAX climbed 0.8 percent.

JAPAN, EUROPE DATA: Japan reported that its industrial output slipped 1.2 percent in March from the year before, not as bad as expected. As a result, the central bank kept its ultra-loose monetary policy intact despite expectations for stimulus. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda remains upbeat about the prospects for a moderate recovery, despite halting progress toward his 2 percent inflation goal.

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In Europe, inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro edged up from minus 0.1 percent to zero in April, ending a four-month spell of falling prices. That's an encouraging sign that the risk of a long-term drop in prices, a damaging phenomenon called deflation, is easing.

MORE EARNINGS: European corporate earnings reports were mixed, with good figures from Shell and Airbus but a disappointing performance from Nokia. The Finnish technology company's shares plummeted 9 percent after it said the profitability at its main networks division was not as good as hoped.

CURRENCIES, BONDS: The euro rose to $1.1168 from $1.1114 the day before. The dollar rose to 119.46 yen from 119.01 yen. U.S. government bond prices fell after some encouraging news on the economy, including a drop in claims for unemployment benefits. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.09 percent from 2.04 percent late Wednesday.

ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude oil increased 26 cents to $58.85 a barrel in New York. Brent crude rose 29 cents to $66.12 a barrel in London.