Weak earnings outweigh jobs news; stocks slip

Thursday - 2/7/2013, 11:21am EST

STEVE ROTHWELL
AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks remained in a holding pattern Thursday. Major indexes edged lower after a report that showed the jobs market is maintaining a slow, but steady, recovery failed to inspire investors.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 35 points to 13,951 as of 9:53 a.m. The Standard and Poor's 500 fell one point to 1,511 and the Nasdaq composite dropped three points to 3,166.

Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, a sign that layoffs are easing. Applications for unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to 366,000. Worker productivity also shrank in the final three months of 2012, although the decline was caused by temporary factors.

News Corp. fell 61 cents to $27.62 after the media conglomerate cut its forecast for annual earnings. The company said weakness at several businesses, including its Fox broadcast network, would offset a gain in earnings in the most recent quarter. Auto parts retailer O'Reilly Automotive surged $8.78 to $101.30 after it reported earnings late Wednesday that beat analysts' forecasts.

Stocks are little changed since the start of the week, suggesting that the recent rally, which pushed both the Dow and the S&P 500 close to record levels, may have stalled. The Dow is up 6.5 percent since the start of the year, and the broader S&P 500 is 6 percent higher.

While stocks have gained, U.S. government bonds have declined as investors move money into riskier assets. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, rose 1 basis point Thursday to 1.97 percent, keeping it close to a 10-year high.

Among other stocks making big moves;

-- Akamai Technologies Inc., which helps websites deliver online content, plunged $7.57 to $34.01, after reporting earnings late Wednesday. Net income rose, but revenue missed forecasts.


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