(Replaces extraneous word "market" for "most" in quote in 6th
* Jobless claims rise less than expected, Philly Fed jumps
* Google, IBM shares fall a day after posting earnings
* Morgan Stanley rallies after results
* Indexes: Dow off 0.1 pct, S&P flat, Nasdaq up 0.15 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, April 17 U.S. stocks were little
changed in choppy trading on Thursday following three days of
gains, as underwhelming results from tech giants Google and IBM
were offset by upbeat quarterly numbers including those from
Morgan Stanley and General Electric.
Economic data was supportive of equities, with the number of
Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits up less
than expected last week and near pre-recession levels. Factory
activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region expanded in April at a
faster clip than anticipated.
Blended earnings per share growth on S&P 500 components rose
to 1.7 percent from Wednesday's 0.6 percent, Thomson Reuters
data showed, indicating most companies that reported in the past
24 hours exceeded expectations.
The technology sector capped gains on the S&P, with Google
shares down 3.4 percent at $544.36 and IBM off
3.9 percent at $188.76 after both reported underwhelming
earnings late Wednesday. Their results raised questions about
those of other tech-sector companies.
"The market is digesting the sharp move we've seen this week
and doing its best to ignore the results from IBM and Google,
which didn't look great," said Steve Sosnick, equity risk
manager at Timber Hill/Interactive Brokers Group in Greenwich,
"I'm mostly focused on bank earnings, which have been OK for
the most part, and there haven't been many outliers, which is a
He said moves should be taken with a grain of salt as many
desks are short-handed ahead of the long weekend. U.S. markets
will be closed for Good Friday.
Shares of Morgan Stanley, rose 3.5 percent to $30.94
after it reported a rise in first-quarter earnings, while
Goldman Sachs edged up 0.7 percent to $158.36 after the
bank reported an 11 percent drop in profits but beat
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 12.03 points or
0.07 percent, to 16,412.82, the S&P 500 gained 0.57
points or 0.03 percent, to 1,862.88 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 6.304 points or 0.15 percent, to 4,092.529.
If indexes hold their gains, the Dow and S&P will post their
largest weekly gains this year.
Wall Street rallied 1 percent on Wednesday after Federal
Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said persistently low inflation poses
a more immediate threat to the U.S. economy than rising prices,
stressing that the U.S. central bank would be delivering policy
stimulus for some time to come.
General Electric posted a 12 percent rise in overall
industrial profits and its shares gained 1.7 percent to $26.57.
China's Weibo Corp priced it initial public offering
at the lower end of expectations on concerns about the
microblogging service's slowing user growth and the country's
highly censored media environment. The stock is scheduled to
begin trading shortly on the Nasdaq.
Western Union shares fell 5 percent to $15.24 after
Wal-Mart said it was launching a domestic money transfer
service in partnership with Euronet Worldwide
subsidiary Ria Money Transfer.
Shares of MoneyGram International, which currently
provides money transfer services for Wal-Mart, were down 15.1
percent at $15.27. Euronet rose 3 percent to $42.03.
SanDisk increased its outlook for gross margins in
2014 as fast-growing sales of its high-end solid-state drives
helped offset volatile prices for memory chips, sending its
shares up 9.8 percent to $83.26.
Chipotle Mexican Grill reported an 8 percent rise in
quarterly profit as sales surged at established restaurants,
driving its shares up 4.9 percent to $579.52.
(Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Bernadette
Baum and Meredith Mazzilli)