Stocks finished off a volatile week in negative fashion as indexes opened slightly down and then added to those losses late in the day. The S&P 500 fell 0.39% and the NASDAQ 0.50%. Two economic reports of note on the day:
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's initial read of U.S. consumer confidence declined to 80.4 in January versus expectations it would rise to 84. The Commerce Department reported U.S. housing starts fell 9.8 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 999,000-unit pace. Economists expected the number to fall to 990,000.
No change to the indexes, the S&P 500 is well above any area of worry and the NASDAQ rallied very near to its long term resistance yesterday and pulled back some today.
A few major earning reports today included General Electric (GE) which posted a rise in quarterly net profit, with its shares falling in the wake of its results. The conglomerate said net earnings rose to $4.2 billion, or 41 cents per share, from $4.01 billion, or 38 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items, earnings of 53 cents per share were in line with the average expectation of analysts. Revenue rose 3.1 percent to $40.38 billion, about $160 million ahead of analysts' targets.
United Parcel Service (UPS) estimated quarterly profit beneath analysts' expectations, partly due to a shorter U.S. holiday season. The world's No.1 package delivery company said a last-minute surge in online shopping and cold weather affected service. The company said it delivered more than 31 million packages on Dec. 23—its highest ever and 13 percent more than the prior-year peak day.
American Express (AXP) posted quarterly profit that more than doubled, bolstered by increased consumer spending during the holidays. The company's net income rose to $1.31 billion, or $1.21 per share, for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, up from $637 million, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier. Total revenue, net of interest expense, rose 5 percent to $8.55 billion.
Visa (V) went along for the ride.
Twitter (TWTR) popped on a bullish price target of $75 a share from Stifel.
Please note U.S. markets will be closed Monday due to the MLK holiday so we'll see you back here Tuesday.