Weak earnings reports weigh on stocks

Specialist Patrick Kenny works on the floor of

Specialist Patrick Kenny works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday. (Oct. 22, 2012) (Credit: AP)

Stocks closed mostly lower yesterday after investors found little to like in weak corporate earnings reports and news of only tepid growth in the U.S. economy in the third quarter.

The Dow Jones industrial average managed a gain of 3.53 points to close at 13,107.21 after spending much of the day in the red. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.07 percent to 1,411.94, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.06 percent to 2,987.95.

Stocks rose in the morning before a mild midday sell-off, then recovered somewhat in the afternoon.

The morning gains came after the Commerce Department estimated that the U.S. economy expanded at a 2 percent annual rate from July through September. That was better than the previous quarter and better than analysts expected but not strong enough to bring down the unemployment rate.

Apple fell $5.54 to $604 after saying its profit will decline this holiday season.

Even with Friday's rise, stocks lost ground this week, inflecting a sort of death-by-a-thousand-cuts on the rally that began in September. The Dow was down 236.30 points for the week, or 1.8 percent. The S&P has fallen 1.5 percent. -- AP

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