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Disappointing earnings reports cast pall on stock market

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By The Associated Press
Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, 8:39 p.m.

NEW YORK — Investors weren't impressed with the earnings news from big American companies on Friday.

General Electric slumped 62 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $26.58. Profit margins in the company's industrial unit fell short of its own targets.

Intel dropped 69 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $25.85. Its first-quarter revenue forecast for $12.8 billion, “plus or minus” $500 million, was less than analysts expected.

Capital One also fell, as the bank missed earnings expectations.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 7.19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,838.70. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 41.55 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,458.56. The Nasdaq composite fell 21.11 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,197.58.

The S&P 500 index retreated from a record-high close on Wednesday. It ended the week 0.5 percent lower and continued its lackluster start to January.

Still, many investors aren't ready to give up on the stock market's latest rally, which capped an exceptionally strong 2013 with a gain of almost 10 percent in the final three months of the year.

“Markets don't go straight up to the moon,” said Doug Cote, chief market strategist at ING Investment Management. “This flat-lining is the market regrouping ... it's a healthy pause.”

The earnings news on Friday wasn't all bad.

American Express rose $3.19, or 3.6 percent, to $90.97 after the company said late Thursday that its net income more than doubled in the fourth quarter. Amex cardholders boosted their spending and borrowing during the holiday season. The news also lifted Visa, which climbed $10.41, or 4.7 percent, to $232.18.

The two companies are members of the Dow and together boosted the blue-chip index by 87 points. Without them, the Dow would have ended the day down.

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