US stocks ended little changed on Thursday as data showed an increase in jobless claims before the government’s monthly labour report tomorrow, though gains in Internet shares helped lift the Nasdaq.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 22 points or 0.13%, to 16,559, the S&P 500 ended flat at 1,884 and the Nasdaq Composite added 13 points or 0.31%, to 4,127.
Data yesterday showed applications for US unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed to a nine-week high last week. A Labour Department report today may show employers added 215,000 workers in April, the most since November, according to economists’ projections.
In company news, General Motors (GM.N) shares gained 1.2% after US April car sales showed a rebound from the winter.
Facebook (FB.O), up 2.3%, and other Internet shares were among the day's best performers, helped by strong results from Yelp (YELP.N), whose shares gained 9.8%
Among other Internet gainers, TripAdvisor Inc (TRIP.O) added 3.4% while Amazon.com (AMZN.O) rose 1.2%.
After the bell, however, shares of LinkedIn (LNKD.N) fell 2.7% after it forecast 2014 revenue below analysts' expectations. Expedia (EXPE.O) shares dipped 1.5% even as its adjusted profit topped expectations.
During the regular session, the biggest drag on the S&P 500 was Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), which declined 1% despite reporting first-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations.
DirecTV Inc (DTV.O) rose 4.1% after the Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T Inc (T.N) had approached the company about a possible acquisition. Shares of AT&T dipped 0.3%.
Caterpillar surged 0.1% after the world’s largest maker of construction machinery said sales in that segment rose 20% in the first quarter while earnings tripled. IBM increased 0.7%.
Avon Products Inc. tumbled 10% to lead losses in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index after earnings trailed analysts’ estimates by almost half. T-Mobile US Inc. rallied 8.1% after adding 1.3 million new monthly subscribers last quarter.
Sprint Corp. surged 2.7% after meeting with banks to make debt arrangements for a bid for T-Mobile.
In Asia, shares oscillated between gains and losses on Friday as investors weighed corporate earnings before the release of US non-farm payrolls today.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added less than 0.1% to 138 as of 11 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix index fell 0.2%. South Korea’s Kospi index slipped 0.1% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.3% as it resumed trading following the May Day holiday. Markets in mainland China are closed for a holiday.