US stocks close mixed amid corporate earnings

New York: US stocks ended mixed on Thursday, as Wall Street digested a mixed string of earnings reports of big names in broad-range industries, as well as new data pointing to the health of the US economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 134.97 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 26,462.08. The S&P 500 decreased 1.08 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 2,926.17. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 16.67 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 8,118.68, the Xinhua news agency reported.

US industrial giant 3M’s grim quarterly earnings struck a blow on the Dow, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq was powered by robust earnings from Facebook and Microsoft.

Shares of 3M plunged 11.95 per cent, after its first-quarter earnings missed market estimates. The manufacturing conglomerate also slashed its full-year earnings guidance as it fared worse in key markets.

The company also announced it will cut around 2,000 jobs across the world, in a bid to restructure its business operations.

Yet shares of Comcast rose 2.58 per cent. The cable giant missed first quarter revenue estimates but showed strong growth across several lines of business.

Shares of Facebook and Microsoft rallied 5.85 per cent and 3.31 per cent respectively, after the two tech heavyweights both reported stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings after market close on Wednesday.

Six of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors traded lower around market close, with the industrials sector do nearly 2 per cent, leading the losers.

On the economic front, US jobless claims saw a sharp increase for the week ending April 20, marking the biggest rise in 19 months.

The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week surged to 230,000, an increase of 37,000 from the previous week’s revised level, said the Department of Labor.

New orders for manufactured durable goods rose 2.7 per cent in March to 258.5 billion US dollars, the US Census Bureau said Thursday.