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Wall Street ends slightly lower as earnings worries linger

US stocks ended marginally lower today as lingering worries about upcoming corporate earnings reports offset enthusiasm about a trio of soaring Wall Street debuts.

Weighing on the S&P 500 were Apple and General Electric, which is expected to report its first-quarter results on Friday before the start of trading.

The S&P 500's top gainer, Netflix, closed 18.21 percent higher a day after the video streaming service posted better-than-expected results.

Shares of Etsy Inc, an online marketplace for handmade goods and crafts, finished 87.5 percent higher and private-equity backed Party City's stock jumped 21.77 percent in their IPOs.

The stock of electronic trading firm Virtu Financial Inc closed 16.74 percent higher in its market debut in a sign that public angst over "high-frequency" trading is waning.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 6.84 points, or 0.04 percent, to end at 18,105.77. The S&P 500 lost 1.64 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,104.99 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.23 points, or 0.06 percent, to 5,007.79.

Of the 51 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported so far, 76.5 percent exceeded profit expectations, well above the long-term average of 63 percent.

European equities retreated from 14-year highs, led lower by shares in French retailer Casino, which reported slower sales growth, and Pearson, on a report that one of its educational technology projects was in trouble.

Casino's stock dropped 4.6 percent after Societe Generale and Natixis cut their target prices, and Pearson fell 4 percent on a report the Los Angeles Unified School District was seeking a refund from Apple over a bungled $1.3 billion iPad plan with a curriculum from Pearson.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.9 percent lower at 1,635.76 points after gaining 0.6 percent on Wednesday to reach levels not seen since late 2000.

Germany's DAX, down 1.9 percent, underperformed the wider market, after a recent sharp rally and as the euro gained against the dollar. A stronger local currency is generally seen negative for export-oriented companies.

Meanwhile, Japanese stocks edged up as buying in oil and mining shares reversed early losses, offsetting profit-taking in recent gainers such as food stocks, while Sharp Corp surged on restructuring hopes.

The Nikkei 225 ended 0.1 percent higher at 19,885.77 after trading in negative territory earlier. The broader Topix rose 0.7 percent to 1,599.42, with 2.54 billion shares changing hands, the highest level since March 27.

The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.6 percent to 14,498.14.

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Tags:  US  stock market  Europe  Nikkei  





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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia