4:24 PM, Apr 22, 2010 --
- NYSE down 1.8 (0.02%) to 7,642.83.
- DJIA up 9.4 (0.08%) to 11,134.
- S&P 500 up 2.7 (0.2%) to 1,209.
- Nasdaq up 14.5 (0.6%) to 2,519.
- Hang Seng down 0.26%
- Nikkei down 1.27%
- FTSE down 0.97%
(+) Q being bought by CenturyLink (CTL); CTL down 2.57%.
(-) NOK declines on earnings miss, though results top year ago.
(-) EBAY disappoints with guidance.
(-) QCOM disappoints with earnings.
(-) BAX meets with Q1, lowers outlook.
Stocks close modestly firmer as reserved optimism returned late, just ahead of the evening release of some key earnings reports, including Microsoft (MSFT).
The tech-heavy Nasdaq fronted narrow broad-market gains. Earlier, stocks were sharply lower as concerns for Greece and some noted earnings disappointments offset upbeat housing data.
Stocks were down more aggressively earlier in the day, including a more than 100-point drop for the blue-chip DJIA as Greece's debt crisis took a turn for the worse.
Europe's statistics agency found that the country's budget deficit last year was even larger than previously thought. That may push Greece closer to tapping loans from 15 European countries and the International Monetary Union. Also today, Moody's Investor Services downgraded Greece's debt and said more downgrades could be coming.
Homebuilder stocks rose, however, after an upbeat report on home sales. The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes rose 6.8% last month after falling 0.8% in February. Sales of previously occupied homes had been expected to rise 5.2%, according to Thomson Reuters.
Earlier in the day, weekly jobless claims data did little to inspire fresh buying. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits dipped to 456,000 last week, after rising unexpectedly the past couple of weeks. The drop was about in line with expectations. Producer price index data excluding volatile food and energy prices supported other recent mild-inflation readings.
In a speech in New York, President Barack Obama said the economy is recovering quickly but the progress needs to be felt more deeply among the millions of unemployed Americans. He has blamed Wall Street for helping push the country into recession. Obama gave a speech in support of his efforts to pass legislation that would overhaul financial markets, the AP reported.
The Senate may debate the financial overhaul bill next week. The House has already passed its own version.