By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were mostly lower on Friday, as declines in Intel and General Electric outweighed the advance in American Express in the wake of their quarterly earnings.
Shares of Intel Corp lost 4.7 percent to $25.29 to weigh on each of the three major U.S. indexes after fourth quarter earnings missed expectations by a penny due to weak spending on servers. The chipmaker gave a lukewarm forecast for first-quarter revenue.
General Electric Co lost 2.8 percent to $26.44. The conglomerate posted a slightly better-than-expected rise in revenue on Friday propelled by its businesses selling oil pumps and jet engines.
But American Express Co was a bright spot, climbing 4.9 percent to $92.06. The credit card company gave the biggest boost to the Dow and S&P 500 after reporting strong quarterly results after the close on Thursday.
"The market is frustrated at the moment, there is no reason to push higher," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York.
"There are mixed earnings and even the ones that are coming in stronger, people are taking advantage and using those as sources of cash, so they are taking some money off the table, which is just holding us here."
Morgan Stanley rose 3.9 percent to $33.26. The Wall Street bank reported a sharp fall in quarterly profit as it was hit by legal bills but adjusted earnings beat estimates.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 28.12 points or 0.17 percent, to 16,445.13, the S&P 500 lost 2.57 points or 0.14 percent, to 1,843.32 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 8.311 points or 0.2 percent, to 4,210.377.
After surging 30 percent in 2013, largely due to stimulus from the Federal Reserve, the S&P 500 started the year on a weak note but recovered recently to set a new record high Wednesday. It is now roughly flat for the year.
Housing starts fell less than expected in December, as data showed a 9.8 percent drop, the largest percentage decline since April, to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of a 999,000-unit pace. Economists polled by Reuters had expected starts to fall to a 990,000-unit rate. The PHLX housing sector index lost 0.7 percent.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading of consumer sentiment came in at 80.4, down from 82.5 in December, weighed by lowered expectations among lower- and middle-income families. But industrial output rose at its fastest clip in 3-1/2 years in the fourth quarter as factory activity closed out the year on a strong note.
The Dow Jones Transportation Average lost 0.5 percent, dragged down by a 1.5 percent decline in United Parcel Service Inc to $99.06 and a 2.5 percent fall in Con-Way Inc to $40.36 after fourth-quarter outlooks.
NII Holdings jumped 15.4 percent to $2.77 after the company said it had reached a deal to bring the Apple Inc's iPhone to its Nextel Brazil operations.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)