A Wall Street sign in New York. (Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)
U.S. stocks were falling Friday as General Electric stock dropped after the company’s second-quarter report. Most other industries were also lower in mid-morning trading on Wall Street, including technology companies, which have soared during a 10-day winning streak. European stocks were sinking and bond prices were jumping as investors continue to wonder about the fate of the European Central Bank’s stimulus measures.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 7 points, or 0.3%, to 2,465 as of 10:08 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones industrial average sank 89 points, or 0.4%, to 21,522. The Nasdaq composite fell 16 points, or 0.3%, to 6,374. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slipped 3 points, or 0.2%, to 1,439. All four indexes remained near record highs.
POWER DOWN: General Electric said its profit and revenue did better than Wall Street expected in the second quarter, but its power unit struggled. The stock fell 4.3% to $25.55 on Friday. It’s down 19% this year.
EUROPE FACTOR: European stock indexes sank and bond prices rose, sending yields lower, after Reuters reported that the European Central Bank will consider paring back its stimulus programs in late October.
In the last few weeks, investors have focused on the bank and what it will do as the European economy continues to improve. The ECB has helped prop up the European economy and stock markets by buying government bonds and keeping interest rates at zero, and investors are nervous about what will happen as that changes.
ECB President Mario Draghi said Thursday that the bank hasn’t even set a date for considering changes. Investors were somewhat relieved by that, but their relief was undercut by Friday’s developments. The German DAX sank 1.6%, and France’s CAC 40 shed 1.4%. The FTSE 100 in Britain slipped 0.3%.
TECH BACK ON TOP: Microsoft’s fourth-quarter profit and sales surpassed Wall Street estimates. The software giant posted another round of strong results from its cloud computing business, including its Azure platform. Its stock slipped 33 cents to $73.89 on Friday.
Payments processor Visa beat estimates in its fiscal third quarter. Its business has gotten a boost since Visa bought Visa Europe a year ago. The shares rose 2% to $100.04.
Technology stocks are coming off a 10-day winning streak, their longest in more than a year. The S&P 500 technology index has climbed more than 6% over that time, which brought that index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite to record highs. The rally was assisted by the weakening dollar, which helps sales and earnings overseas. Investors also bet that technology companies would have another round of strong quarterly earnings.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude sank 72 cents, or 1.5%, to $46.20 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, fell 69 cents, or 1.4%, to $48.61 a barrel in London. That dragged energy companies lower.
IN THE MONEY: Credit card issuer Capital One Financial leaped 6.7% to $86.44 after it beat Wall Street estimates in the second quarter. Other financial companies also climbed after their reports. E-Trade Financial jumped 4.7% to $41.48. Moody’s advanced 3% to $131.
BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.24% from 2.26%.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slid to 111.21 yen, from 111.99 yen. The euro rose to $1.1647, from $1.1626.
ASIA: The Nikkei 225 of Japan slipped 0.2%. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng inched down less than 0.1%.