Most US stocks gained on Thursday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index briefly scaling 1,500, as a surprise drop in jobless claims and strong earnings offset Apple's worst day in more than four years.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46 points or 0.33%, to 13,825 at the close. The S&P 500 closed flat at 1,495, with the bourse briefly trading above 1,500 for the first time since 12 December 2007. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 23 points or 0.74%, to end at 3,130.
Shares gained earlier yesterday after economic data showed US factory activity grew the most in nearly two years in January and new claims for jobless benefits declined to a five-year low last week.
Chinese manufacturing also increased this month at the fastest pace in about two years.
In earnings news, video streaming service Netflix Inc surprised investors with a quarterly profit after it added nearly 4 million customers in the US and abroad. Netflix shares surged 42.2% to $146.86.
Apple plunged 12.4% to $450.50 a day, which wiped out nearly $60 billion in the company’s market capitalisation to less than $423 billion, after it posted revenue that missed Wall Street's forecast as iPhone sales were poorer than expected.
Microsoft Corp. dropped 1.8% after the close of regular trading as the world’s biggest software maker posted a decline in net income for the fiscal second quarter.
Altera Corp. erased 4.6% after the fourth-quarter earnings at the maker of programmable chips used in phone systems missed estimates.
Elsewhere, Amazon.com Inc. jumped 2.1% after the online retailer announced that it was acquiring IVONA Software, a text-to-speech technology company. EBay Inc. advanced 3.4%.
In Asia, shares gained on Friday in late morning trade as declines in Japanese prices added to the case for more monetary stimulus and US jobless claims fell to a five-year low.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.4% to 132 as of 10:52 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix Index gained 1.7% today, set for its 11th weekly advance, the longest such winning streak since January 1973.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.5%, advancing for an eighth day, its longest winning streak in almost three years. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.2% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3%.South Korea’s Kospi Index lost 0.8% after Kia Motors Corp. joined larger affiliate Hyundai Motor Co. in posting falling profit last quarter.