NEW YORK (AP) — A mixed batch of earnings reports from some of Corporate America's biggest names nudged the stock market lower Friday. General Electric and Morgan Stanley rose after turning in better report cards, while a 27 percent drop in earnings sank Intel's stock.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 22 points to 13,573 as of 12:20 p.m. EST.
GE led the 30 stocks in the Dow after the conglomerate reported stronger quarterly earnings, helped by orders from Brazil, Angola and other developing countries. Profits increased at all seven of its industrial segments, including oil and gas, energy management, aviation and transportation. GE rose 63 cents to $21.93.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell four points to 1,477 and the Nasdaq composite fell 15 points to 3,121.
Even though investors had plenty of news to digest, trading was largely quiet. "Earnings always matter," said Rex Macey, the chief investment officer of Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors in Atlanta. "But just because we're in the middle of earnings season doesn't mean we're going to get huge market moves."
The Dow and the S&P 500, a widely used benchmark for investment funds, are headed for their third straight week of gains. The Dow is up 0.6 percent and the S&P 0.3 percent.
Morgan Stanley's earnings surged across its many business lines, as more companies hired the investment bank to help it raise money and line up mergers. Morgan Stanley jumped 8 percent, rising $1.59 to $22.34.
Intel fell 7 percent, the biggest drop in the Dow. The world's biggest chipmaker said late Thursday that fourth-quarter net income fell 27 percent. A growing preference for smartphones and tablets, instead of personal computers and laptops powered by Intel chips, have made investors wary of the company's stock. It lost $1.56 to $21.12.
American Express fell $1.73 to $59.01. Hefty charges tied to the credit card issuer's plan to cut jobs and reorganize some business lines hurt results, and revenue fell short of estimates.
Analysts forecast that companies in the S&P 500 will report a 3.8 percent increase in fourth-quarter earnings over the same period the year before. They say financial firms and consumer-discretionary companies should have the strongest profit growth of any industry, according to S&P Capital IQ. Technology companies are expected to struggle.
Life Technologies, a maker of genetic testing equipment, soared 10 percent following reports that it's considering putting itself up for sale. The company's board said it has hired Deutsche Bank Securities and the investment bank Moelis & Co. Life Technologies' stock jumped $5.88 to $60.85.