US STOCKS-Wall St little changed as Microsoft offsets Amazon

Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:51pm IST

Stocks

   

* Amazon tumbles, Microsoft climbs after earnings

* New home sales climb to six-year high

* Indexes: Dow up 0.04 pct, S&P off 0.03 pct, Nasdaq up 0.04 pct (Adds data, updates prices)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Oct 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Friday, as disappointing earnings from Amazon were offset by gains in Microsoft after its quarterly results.

Amazon plunged 7.3 percent to $290.45 as the biggest drag on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 after the online retailer's sales projections for the crucial holiday quarter disappointed Wall Street and third-quarter results missed forecasts.

But Microsoft, up 1.3 percent at $45.63, helped offset the drop in Amazon after it reported higher-than-expected quarterly revenue while keeping its profit margins largely intact.

Procter & Gamble gained 2.9 percent to $85.67 to also help boost the Dow and S&P 500 after the world's largest household products maker posted quarterly results and said it would split its Duracell battery business into a separate company.

The S&P 500 is up 3.5 percent for the week, putting the index on pace for its first weekly gain in five and best week since the start of 2013, powered largely by solid corporate earnings reports. The benchmark index is down 2.8 percent after slumping more than 7 percent from its record high on Sept. 18 while volatility has spiked.

"The global growth scare that set everything into a tailspin seems to have calmed down a little bit, the world is not coming to an end," said John De Clue, chief investment officer of the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"We were lulled into a sense of complacency and now the market is on high alert, people perceive both threats and opportunities and they are poised to take action pretty quickly."

Concerns over the spread of Ebola continued to vex the market. A doctor who worked in West Africa with Ebola patients was in an isolation unit in New York City on Friday after testing positive for the virus while the World Health Organization set out plans for speeding up development and deployment of experimental Ebola vaccines.

At 10:04 a.m. (1404 GMT)) the Dow Jones industrial average rose 6.07 points, or 0.04 percent, to 16,683.97, the S&P 500 lost 0.64 points, or 0.03 percent, to 1,950.18 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.97 points, or 0.04 percent, to 4,454.76.

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose to a six-year high in September, up 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 467,000 units.

The largest percentage gainer on the S&P 500 was Edwards Life, which rose 10.2 percent, while the largest decliner was Amazon.

On the Nasdaq 100 the largest gainer was KLA Tencor , which rose 8.3 percent, while the largest decliner was Amazon.

Among the most active stocks on the NYSE were Petrobras , up 7.18 percent to $12.98; Ford Motor, down 2.85 percent to $13.99 and Bank Of America, up 0.06 percent to $16.61.

On the Nasdaq, DryShips, down 26.3 percent to $1.48; Microsoft and Apple, down 0.1 percent to $104.77 were among the most actively traded.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,472 to 1,289, for a 1.14-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,153 issues rose and 1,131 fell for a 1.02-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 20 new 52-week highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 29 new highs and 17 new lows. (Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish)

 
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