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Wall Street dips after GDP but finishes week higher

A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, April 26, 2013.
By Rodrigo Campos, Reuters

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks dipped in thin volume on Friday, though the market had a strong week overall despite a mixed bag of earnings and weak economic figures.

Shares of online retailer Amazon.com Inc. posted the largest daily drop in 15 months after the company reported results late on Thursday. It was Friday’s biggest drag on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes.

Gains in shares of Chevron Corp. buoyed the blue-chip Dow industrials.

The market fell early after a negative surprise from the gross domestic product report, but the decline attracted bargain-hunting investors late in the session. Major indexes posted solid gains for the week.

J.C. Penney Co. was the S&P 500′s biggest percentage gainer, up 11.5 percent to $17 after CNBC reported Goldman Sachs lined up a $1.75 billion loan for the retailer. The news added to previous gains a day after investor George Soros reported a 7.9 percent passive stake in the company.

“We traded off a decent amount after the GDP number but we didn’t break any technical levels or really didn’t get much momentum in the selloff past late morning,” said Paul Zemsky, head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management in New York.

“I guess there was some bottom fishing. There was so much fear of poor earnings going into earnings season that this is still somewhat of a positive surprise.”

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 11.75 points or 0.08 percent, to 14,712.55, the S&P 500 lost 2.92 points or 0.18 percent, to 1,582.24 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 10.72 points or 0.33 percent, to 3,279.26.

For the week, the Dow gained 1.1 percent, the S&P added 1.7 percent and the Nasdaq rose 2.3 percent.

Of the 271 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings to date for the first quarter, 69 percent have beaten analyst expectations — above the 63 percent average since 1994 and slightly over the 67 percent beat rate over the past four quarters.

Eastman Chemical dropped 5.1 percent to $68.97 a day after posting results, to lead percentage declines among S&P materials, which was the worst performing sector of the index with a 1.4 percent drop.

The S&P traded Thursday within a point of its historic closing high set earlier this month and the 1,593 level is expected to be technical resistance in the near future.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.5 percent rate in the first quarter, below estimates of 3 percent, heightening fears the U.S. economy could struggle to cope with deep government spending cuts and higher taxes that kicked in earlier this year.

Amazon.com shed 7.2 percent to $254.81 after it said revenue growth slowed in the first quarter as the company struggled overseas, but margins jumped on lower shipping expenses.

Chevron rose 1.3 percent to $120.04 after it posted earnings that beat expectations, even as lower oil prices bit into the profits of the second largest U.S. oil company.

The PHLX housing sector index gained 1 percent, getting a lift from D.R. Horton Inc. after the No. 1 U.S. homebuilder reported earnings. D.R. Horton shares closed at their highest in six years after an 8.7 percent jump to $26.60.

About 5.7 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE MKT, below the daily average so far this year of about 6.4 billion shares.

On the NYSE, roughly seven issues fell for every five that rose and on Nasdaq about three fell for every two advancing issues.


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