U.S. Stocks Eke Out Gains As Investors Fret Over Earnings

By Sue ChangMarketWatch Pulse

U.S. stocks squeaked out gains to close fractionally higher on Thursday as subdued corporate earnings weighed on investors' sentiment. The S&P 500 edged up less than a point to close at 2,082.78 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18.15 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 17,926.43. The Nasdaq shed 1.53 points to close at 4,945.89. Morgan Stanley analysts said expectations for first-quarter earnings are fairly modest with nine out of 10 sectors in the S&P 500 recording a drop in consensus estimate.

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