Stocks are going nowhere


Stocks opened relatively flat on Friday — a quiet day for economic data but a busy morning for earnings.

Just after the open and near 9:35 a.m. ET, the Dow was up 10 points, while the S&P 500 was down 1 point and the Nasdaq was down 34 points.

Stocks closed lower Thursday, with the Dow shedding 113 points, pulling back from highs of the year and slipping below the 18,000 level.

Microsoft was the biggest loser on the S&P 500 and the Dow in early Friday trading, down 6% after a miss on earnings with weak guidance.

The tech sector led overall declines.

The yen has made one of the more interesting moves in markets today. It fell to about 111.41 against the dollar, nearly 1%, after Bloomberg reported that the Bank of Japan was thinking about offering a negative rate on some loans to help banks lend.

Crude oil was higher near the stock-market open. West Texas Intermediate crude futures in New York rose about 1.2% to as high as $43.98 per barrel.

In earnings, Caterpillar missed on earnings by one penny, and lowered its forecast for full-year earnings per share. The company expects that some of its businesses will remain weak even though commodity prices have rebounded a bit.

McDonald’s blew it out of the water with a 46% rise in adjusted EPS that topped estimates. All-day breakfast also helped the company beat forecasts for US same-store sales.

At 9:45 a.m. ET, Markit will release its flash manufacturing PMI for April, which is expected to show steady improvement in the sector.

Baker Hughes will release weekly count of US oil and gas rigs at 1 p.m.

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