NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were mixed Friday as investors assessed several weak earnings reports from U.S. companies. Industrial stocks were among the biggest decliners after General Electric reported earnings that disappointed investors. Intel slumped after issuing a weak revenue forecast.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell four points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,841 as of 1:37 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,463. The Nasdaq composite fell 16 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,202.
GENERAL ELECTRIC: GE slumped 74 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $26.46 after the company's profit margins in its industrial unit fell short of its own targets. The company posted increased revenue and profit for the fourth quarter on rising sales in emerging markets, higher banking profit and stronger global sales of aircraft engines.
INTEL: The chipmaker dropped 96 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $25.58 after it posted a revenue forecast that for the first quarter that wasn't as strong as the market had hoped. Intel said revenue would be $12.8 billion, "plus or minus" $500 million, less than analysts had been expecting.
SLOW START GOES ON: The stock market's slow start to the year is continuing. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is flat for the week and down 0.4 percent for the year so far. After a gain of almost 30 percent in 2013, investors want to see more evidence of a strengthening economy and improving earnings before pushing stock prices higher.
PUNISH THE WEAK: Because of the big run-up in stock prices last year, it now takes more to impress investors, said James Liu, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Funds. Investors are also taking a harder line on companies whose earnings don't live up to expectations.
"It's a bit of a strange situation," Liu said. "Because 2013 was so good and we are back at average valuations, earnings beats are going to be rewarded less than misses will be punished."
SPEAKING OF WHICH: Cosmetics maker Elizabeth Arden plunged $5.82, or 17 percent, to $26.68 in heavy trading after the company late Thursday gave investors a dismal forecast for its fiscal second quarter and full year due to weak holiday season sales.
HOLIDAY SPENDING: American Express rose $4.25, or 4.8 percent, to $92.01 after the company said late Thursday that its net income more than doubled in the fourth quarter as Amex cardholders boosted their spending and borrowing during the holiday season.
THE ECONOMY: U.S. home construction slowed in December but ended 2013 with the best showing since the housing bubble burst. Builders broke ground last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 999,000, the Commerce Department said Friday. That's 9.8 percent lower than November's pace of 1.12 million, the fastest in five years.
UNEXPECTED DELIVERIES: United Parcel Service fell $1.66, or 1.7 percent, to $98.83, after the company said its earnings would be lower than it previously forecast because it misjudged holiday demand. The package delivery service said an "unprecedented" amount of online shopping included a surge of last-minute orders, forcing it to use more temporary employees than it had planned to.
TREASURYS AND COMMODITIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 2.84 percent. The price of oil rose 30 cents to $94.28 a barrel. Gold climbed $14, or 1.1 percent to $1,253.90 an ounce.