Stocks struggle after advance

Wall Street turns mixed as investors hesitate after lifting the market in 6 of the last 7 sessions.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By CNNMoney.com staff

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks turned mixed Thursday morning, giving up early gains, as investors showed some caution after pushing markets higher for six of the last seven sessions.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) lost 27 points, or 0.4% in the early going. The S&P 500 (SPX) index fell 3 points, or 0.4%. The Nasdaq composite (COMP) was barely lower.

On Wednesday, stocks rallied after the Federal Reserve said it was pumping more than $1 trillion into the economy.

But after an early move upward Thursday, stocks turned lower, as investors sorted through the morning economic news.

The Philadelphia Fed index, a regional reading on manufacturing, fell to negative 35.0 in March from negative 41.3 in February, indicating the economy remains deep in recession. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com though it would fall to negative 39.0.

The index of leading economic indicators fell 0.4% in February, short of expectations for a drop of 0.6%. LEI rose a revised 0.1% in the previous month.

Stocks have gained in 6 of the last 7 sessions, but market pros caution that it's a bear-market rally and not something more substantial.

"I think it's a short-term bump," said David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Markets in London.

Economy: The government released its weekly report on initial jobless claims for the week ended March 14, showing a decline in claims to 646,000.

That was better than the forecast for 655,000 claims from a consensus of economists surveyed by Briefing.com. Jobless claims totaled 658,000 the prior week, according to the government's revised figure. However, continuing claims hit another record high above 5 million.

Companies: Oracle (ORCL, Fortune 500) managed to beat estimates for quarterly sales and profit, and declared its first dividend since going public in 1986, despite overall weakness in the software sector.

The maker of business software announced a 2% increase in total revenue to $5.4 billion in the third quarter, compared to the year-earlier quarter, and a 25% gain in net profit to $1.3 billion, or 26 cents per share, excluding certain items. The company's stock jumped 11% in morning trading.

Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) announced plans to do a reverse stock split. The value of the company's stock has plunged more than 80% over the past year, despite a rally over the past few days. The split has to be approved by shareholders. Shares gained 23% in the morning.

Global markets: Asian stocks ended lower, with Tokyo's Nikkei index down 0.3%. European stocks were higher in midday trading.

Oil: Prices surged $2.83 to $50.97 a barrel, recapturing its higher price from earlier in the week. A day after its biggest one-day drop in more than two decades, the dollar fell further against the euro, the yen and the British pound. To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
50 years of the Ford Mustang Take a drive down memory lane with our favorite photos of the car through the years. More
Cool cars from the New York Auto Show These are some of the most interesting new models and concept vehicles from the Big Apple's car show. More
8 CEOs who took a pay cut in 2013 Median CEO pay inched up 9% in 2013 to $13.9 million. But not everyone got a bump last year. Here are eight CEOs who missed out. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.