Stocks Open Mostly Off as Caterpillar Weighs

U.S. stocks struggled Friday as Caterpillar’s profit missed estimates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 57.59 points to 12,666.82. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 4.491 points to 1,339.31. The Nasdaq Composite Index was off 1,339.31 point to 2,834.26.

Caterpillar Inc.’s second-quarter earnings surged 44%, but fell short of views, as machinery and power-systems equipment sales grew as demand improved from weak levels a year earlier. Caterpillar reported a profit of $1.02 billion, or $1.52 a share, up from $707 million, or $1.09 a share, a year earlier. Revenue climbed 37% to $14.23 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently forecast earnings of $1.75 per share on revenue of $13.55 billion.

General Electric Co notched a better-than-expected 21.6 percent rise in earnings, helped by strong demand for equipment used in oil and natural gas production and jet engines.The company said second-quarter profit attributable to common shareholders rose to $3.69 billion, or 35 cents per share, from $3.03 billion, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier. Factoring out one-time items, profit was 34 cents per share. Revenue fell 3.5 percent to $35.63 billion.

Netflix Inc.’s rationale for raising its rates by as much as 60 percent, and what that has done to its subscriber base, will get top billing Monday when the online video company releases its second-quarter earnings report.The company expected to end June with 24.9 million to 25.8 million subscribers, up from 23.6 million in March.

Oil prices hovered above toward $99 a barrel Friday after European leaders reached an aid deal aimed at stanching Greece’s financial crisis. Benchmark oil for September delivery was flat at $99.13 a barrel by midafternoon European time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Apple Inc is in early talks to join the bidding for Hulu, the online video site that Walt Disney Co, News Corp and its other owners have put up for sale, Bloomberg cited two unidentified sources as saying.

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