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July 26. 2013 7:54PM

Stocks edge up; Dow recoups 150-point drop

NEW YORK — Stocks finished with slight gains Friday, lifting the Dow industrials to a fifth weekly gain, after Wall Street dug through earnings reports that included a steep profit drop for Expedia Inc. and a better-than-expected profit from Starbucks Corp.

“If you want to pick a good and a bad, Expedia and Starbucks are the ones you want to look at,” said Art Hogan, market strategist at Lazard Capital Markets.

“The very last thing people want to give up is a cup of coffee,” he added, noting Dunkin Brands Group Inc., the parent of Dunkin’ Donuts, also reported positive results earlier in the week.

Leading gains on the S&P 500, Starbucks rose 7.6 percent after reporting a quarterly profit that topped expectations.

Leading losses on the S&P 500, Expedia fell 27 percent a day after it said second-quarter profit fell by a third.

“The online travel world is not looking altogether robust; Expedia wasn’t able to transition well last quarter,” said Lazard’s Hogan.

A favorable reading on consumer sentiment did little to bolster stocks. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s index of U.S. consumer sentiment rose to 85.1 this month from 84.1 in June. The latest level is the highest since July 2007.

After a 150-point drop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 3.22 points to 15,558.83, giving the blue-chip index a 0.1 percent weekly gain, its fifth straight. The Dow is up almost 19 percent this year.

Down a fraction from last Friday’s finish, the S&P 500 index added 1.40 points on Friday, or 0.1 percent, to 1,691.65, with health care pacing gains and materials leading losses among its 10 major industry groups. The index is up nearly 19 percent for the year.

“For us to take a pause here in the middle of the earnings season is completely understandable,” said Hogan.

The Nasdaq Composite added 7.98 points on Friday, or 0.2 percent, to 3,613.16, leaving it up 0.7 percent from the week-ago close and up nearly 20 percent year-to-date.

Decliners remained just ahead of advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, where 597 million shares traded.

Composite volume approached 2.7 billion.

The dollar declined against other global currencies and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell a basis point to 2.562 percent.

Settling at a more-than two-week low and down 2.9 percent for the week, crude-oil futures slid 79 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $104.70 a barrel.

Gold futures lost $7.30, or 0.6 percent, to $1,321.50 an ounce, leaving them up 2.2 percent for the week.

Nasdaq Composite component Zynga Inc. fell 14 percent after projecting earnings shy of estimates.

“We’ve had a significant shift week over week. Last week earnings were third behind (Federal Reserve Chairman) Ben Bernanke and economic data. This week it’s all about earnings,” Hogan added.

“The earnings season thus far has been good enough, but when companies miss, they are treated on a case-by-case basis,” said Hogan.

The flood of earnings this week has dominated investor attention. The read on corporate reports, however, has been far from conclusive.

“It’s hard to get charged up about the latest earnings season for the S&P 500,” Ed Yardeni, chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research Inc., noted in weekly comments delivered Friday.

Nick Raich, CEO at the Earnings Scout, had a brighter take.

“Clearly, earnings growth this quarter has been driven by the financial sector, but even if you exclude financial-company results, 63 percent are still beating earnings estimates on average sales growth of 4 percent,” said Raich in emailed commentary.

Of the roughly 100 companies to watch only a few “garnered the most attention. Neutral-rated Facebook surged 30 percent after suddenly figuring out how to monetize mobile while home builders had a rough go of it,” Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist, BTIG LLC, said of Thursday’s trade.

On Thursday, the Nasdaq Composite was propelled by a leap in Facebook Inc.’s shares after the social-networking company reported better-than-estimated results. Home builders, however, were hit, as top executives spoke of higher interest rates crimping sales.



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(c)2013 MarketWatch

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