Markets flat on mixed earnings reports
The stock market finished pretty much where it started Wednesday as a mixed bag of earnings from big-name American companies left investors uninspired.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index, a widely used market barometer, ended up, but just barely: 0.01 point, to 1,578.79.
The Dow Jones industrial average edged down 43 points, to 14,676.30, held back by big drops in Procter & Gamble and AT&T. P&G issued a weak quarterly profit forecast, and AT&T lost subscribers from its contract-based plans for the first time. Companies such as Boeing and General Dynamics tempered the mood with strong quarterly profits.
Investors are taking their cue from a heavy dose of earnings this week. So far, 175 of the companies in the S&P 500, or 35 percent, have reported quarterly earnings. Two-thirds of the Dow's members have reported.
While the majority of them have delivered better-than-expected profits, their sales haven't been as strong, suggesting they are struggling to grow.
Though 69 percent of companies in the S&P 500 have beaten earnings expectations, according to S&P Capital IQ, only 39 percent have beaten revenue forecasts.
The Nasdaq composite edged up 0.32 point, to 3,269.55. -- AP