Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Wall Street Ends Flat as Tech Shares Weigh

Stocks Reuters

Wall Street ended near flat on Friday after disappointing quarterly reports from Microsoft and Alphabet slammed tech stocks and offset a surge in oil prices that lifted energy shares.

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The Dow Jones industrial average rose 21.43 points, or 0.12 percent, to 18,003.95, the S&P 500 gained 0.15 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,091.63 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 39.66 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,906.23.

The story below is an earlier-reported version from Reuters.

Disappointing earnings reports from Microsoft and other major companies pushed Wall Street lower on Friday, overshadowing a surge in oil prices which lifted energy shares.

Microsoft was the biggest drag on all three major indexes.

Crude rose about 1.5 percent on signs of strong U.S. gasoline consumption, declining production around the world and oilfield outages. 

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With oil hovering near five-month highs and recent economic data indicating a sluggish pace of economic growth globally, earnings have become a major swing factor for stocks.

The S&P 500 has staged a recovery from a steep selloff earlier this year and is inching toward its all-time high, helped also by a cautious Federal Reserve and companies beating tempered estimates. The index is up half a percent for the week.

"Investors are looking for clarity on two major catalysts - earnings season and the Fed," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.

The Fed, which has said it will depend on data to decide on the number and magnitude of interest rate hikes this year, is scheduled to meet on April 26-27.

"It's normal for the market to pause before a major level of resistance like 2,134, move sideways for a few days, even a few weeks and then blast off again," Sarhan said.

At 12:49 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 48.9 points, or 0.27 percent, at 17,933.62, the S&P 500 was down 9.09 points, or 0.43 percent, at 2,082.39 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 68.94 points, or 1.39 percent, at 4,876.95.

Five of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower. The technology sector was down 2.47 percent while energy was up 1 percent.

Alphabet and Microsoft were down 6 and 7 percent, respectively, after both missed profit and revenue estimates.

S&P 500 companies are seen posting a 7.1 percent fall in first-quarter profit, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, and shares of companies failing to beat the already lowered expectations are getting hammered.

General Electric was off 1.8 percent at $30.43 after it reported lower organic revenue.

Starbucks slipped 5.7 percent after missing sales expectations, while Visa was down 3.2 percent after it cut full-year revenue forecast.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,927 to 977. On the Nasdaq, 1,610 issues rose and 1,075 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 9 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 34 new highs and 17 new lows.

 

(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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