After much movement, stocks end where they began

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 24, 2014 at 4:00 pm •  Published: July 24, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — Only Wall Street could make the buying and selling of more than 3 billion shares look like nothing happened.

Major U.S. stock indexes ended roughly where they began Thursday, despite investors having to work through a busy day of corporate earnings and two economic reports.

Underneath the flat surface, there was a lot of movement in individual companies. "It's a stock-specific market right now," said Ryan Larson, head of equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management.

Facebook's stock rose 5 percent while Caterpillar's fell 3 percent after the companies each reported quarterly results.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged down 2.83 points, or 0.02 percent, to close at 17,083.80. It was the fourth-smallest point move in the blue chips this year. The Nasdaq fell 1.59 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,472.11.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index managed to rise 0.97 of a point, or 0.05 percent, to 1,987.98 — a record, though barely. The day before, the S&P 500 closed at 1,987.01.

Three billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, a quieter-than-average day.

Facebook rose $3.69 to $74.98 after announcing a profit that trounced investors' expectations. The company reported an adjusted profit of 42 cents per share versus the 33 cents analysts were looking for, according to a poll by Zacks Investment Research. Mobile advertising, a crucial business for the world's largest social media company, saw major growth.

"It was a very impressive quarter on top of what we believe were very high Street expectations," said Paul Vogel, an analyst with Barclays Capital, in a note to investors.

Dow member Caterpillar fell $3.34 to $105.04, making it the biggest decliner among the 30 companies that make up the average. The equipment maker's quarterly revenue fell short of forecasts.

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