US stocks edge mostly lower as investors monitor latest earnings news; GM, Southwest rise

Energy Associated Press

U.S. stocks drifted mostly lower in early trading Thursday as investors reviewed the latest batch of corporate earnings news. Utilities stocks were among the biggest decliners.

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KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 47 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,803 as of 10:02 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped one point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,112. The Nasdaq composite gained seven points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,179.

CRUISE CONTROL: Shares in General Motors surged 5.5 percent after the automaker's second-quarter earnings handily beat financial analysts' forecasts. The stock rose $1.67 to $31.97.

RAILROADED: Union Pacific shares fell 2.5 percent after the railroad said its second-quarter earnings slumped 7 percent as coal volumes plummeted. The stock declined $2.39 to $95.29.

HIGH FLYER: Southwest Airlines was up 7.9 percent a day after the company reported its ninth straight quarter of record earnings. The stock gained $2.76 to $37.88.

GREEK FEARS ABATE: Greece's parliament approved new creditor-demanded reforms despite a revolt among hardliners in the ruling coalition, paving the way for bailout discussions to officially begin. The reforms to the judiciary and banking systems were the final hurdle the financially-battered country was obliged to clear before beginning talks with its creditors on a third bailout worth around 85 billion euros ($93 billion). Without the money Greece would face financial ruin and forced exit from the euro currency club.

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MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was down 0.5 percent, while France's CAC 40 fell 0.2 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.2 percent. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.4 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 percent. The Shanghai Composite index gained 2.4 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 inched down 0.4 percent. South Korea's Kospi was little changed.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 23 cents at $49.42 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose 13 cents to $56.28 a barrel in London.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.33 percent.