Earnings drive gains for U.S. stocks in early trading

Alicia Cross
February 4, 2018

The major US stock indexes closed mostly lower Thursday after a midday gain faded by late afternoon.

Feb 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were lower in late morning trading on Thursday, following a string of lackluster earnings and after the Federal Reserve raised its inflation outlook for the year.

The Fed left the benchmark interest rate unchanged, but said it expects inflation to move up this year - a change from its previous statement and a possible signal of faster interest rate increases ahead.

However, stronger-than-expected private sector job data for January and pending home sales data for December renewed investor optimism and helped indices close in green for the first time in the week.

"Armenpress" reports the value of Dow Jones up by 0.14% to 26186.71 points, S&P 500 down by 0.06% to 2821.98 points, Nasdaq down by 0.35% to 7385.86 points.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 4.88 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 1,579.87.

Losses in health care stocks were offset by gains in technology companies and other sectors.

A $1 move in any one of the Dow's 30 components translates to a 6.83-point swing.

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Following the news, Ethereum was hammered dropping down to 1,110, but rebounded to settle in down 9% on the session at 1,212. Bitfinex is an online platform that enables traders to buy and sell virtual currencies such as bitcoin and ether.

Boeing jumped 6 percent Wednesday.

The S&P 500 index showed 12 new 52-week highs and 16 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 20 new highs and 32 new lows.

The Nasdaq composite climbed 9 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,411.48.

Still, "the movement in stocks since the beginning of the year has been remarkable", she added.

Shares of oil majors Exxon and Chevron were down 4.1 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively, after they both posted lower-than-expected quarterly profits. The aerospace giant has been the biggest gainer in the Dow Jones industrial average over the past year. The S&P 600 Index closed at 959.39 for a loss of -5.22 points or -0.54%. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, declined 16 cents to $68.36 in London.

"People are starting to really get increasingly uncomfortable with the rapid rise in interest rates that we have seen and the uncertainty of how that is actually going to start to play out relative to competition for stocks", said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note Wednesday settled at 2.722% from 2.725% Tuesday, staying near its highest settlement since April 2014.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.36 yen from 109.20 yen. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent. The euro strengthened to $1.2478 from $1.2410. Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.7 percent and South Korea's Kospi added 0.1 percent. Over in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.71%.

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