* IBM, eBay earnings drag tech sector
* Goldman Sachs falls after earnings
* Verizon earnings boost lifts telecoms
* Indexes: Dow off 0.35 pct; S&P up 0.21 pct; Nasdaq up 0.28
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Oct 17 U.S. stocks edged higher on
Thursday as investors weighed the impact of an agreement by
lawmakers in Washington to reopen the federal government and
raise the U.S. debt ceiling, but disappointing earnings from IBM
weighed on the Dow.
Congress on Wednesday approved an 11th-hour deal to end a
partial government shutdown and pull the world's biggest economy
back from the edge of default that could have brought about
"Today we are in a sigh of relief that we have averted the
crisis, but longer term we haven't solved the problem," said Ron
Florance, deputy chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private
Bank in Scottsdale, Arizona.
"Earnings are going to reflect the damage that was done, and
if not the earnings, definitely the forward guidance."
The Dow was dragged lower by International Business Machines
Corp's shares hitting a two-year low a day after
reporting a 4 percent drop in third-quarter revenue, weaker than
expected. The tech bellwether was also the worst performing
stock on the S&P 500, trading down 6 percent to $175.58.
According to Thomson Reuters data through Thursday morning,
of the 79 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings,
64.6 percent have topped Wall Street expectations, above the 63
percent beat rate since 1994 but below the 66 percent average
over the past four quarters.
On a revenue basis, 54.4 percent of companies in the S&P 500
have bested Wall Street estimates, below the 61 percent average
since 2002 but above the 49 percent average for the past four
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 53.75 points or
0.35 percent, to 15,320.08, the S&P 500 gained 3.64
points or 0.21 percent, to 1,725.18 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 10.733 points or 0.28 percent, to 3,850.164.
EBay Inc dropped 3.5 percent at $51.59 as the
biggest drag on the Nasdaq 100 index after the company
gave a disappointing holiday forecast on Wednesday, saying the
U.S. economic environment had deteriorated partly because of the
government shutdown. The S&P technology index declined
Goldman Sachs shares fell 2.3 percent to $158.45
after the fifth-largest U.S. bank by assets said its quarterly
profit dropped amid weak bond-trading volumes.
But Verizon Communications Inc was a bright spot as
shares rose 3.7 percent to $49.02 after the company posted
stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings and revenue. The
S&P telecom index climbed 1.8 percent as the best
performing of the ten major S&P sectors.
Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing new
claims for unemployment benefits dropped from a six-month high
last week but remained elevated as California continued to deal
with a backlog related to computer problems.
Other data showed the pace of manufacturing growth in the
U.S. mid-Atlantic region slowed slightly in October, but firms'
optimism about the future hit a 10-year high, a survey showed on