Stocks Mixed amid Jobless Claims Data, Earnings

U.S. stocks were mixed in the early trading on Thursday after the report showed that weekly jobless claims dropped to the lowest level since 1973 and as investors focused on earnings reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 46.83 points, or 0.26%, to 17,804.21. The S&P 500 was off 1.91 points, or 0.09%, to 2,112.24. The Nasdaq Composite added 5.35 points, or 0.10%, to 5,177.12.

The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits last week fell to its lowest level in more than 41 -1/2 years, suggesting the labor market maintained a solid pace of job growth in July. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 255,000 for the week ended July 18, the lowest level since November 1973, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

McDonald’s beat analysts’ quarterly earnings and revenue estimates Thursday, but a key sales metric fell short of forecasts. The company’s second-quarter earnings fell to $1.26 per share from $1.40 a share in the year-earlier period. Revenue dropped to $6.50 billion from $7.18 billion a year ago.

General Motors Co reported adjusted net income that more than doubled in the second quarter, driven by North American truck sales and continued strength in China. Net income rose to $1.1 billion, or 67 cents a share, from $200 million, or 11 cents a share, a year ago.

Union Pacific’s second-quarter profit declined 7 percent as the railroad hauled 6 percent less freight overall and coal volumes plummeted 26 percent. Union Pacific reported $1.2 billion in net income, or $1.38 per share. That’s down from $1.29 billion, or $1.43 per share, a year ago.

Caterpillar Inc on Thursday reported a lower quarterly net profit as sales declined in key markets amid a sluggish global economy. It reported second-quarter net income of $710 million, or $1.16 per share, down from $999 million, or $1.57 a share a year earlier.

Morgan Stanley has been pretty pessimistic about oil prices in 2015, drawing comparisons to the some of the worst oil slumps of the past three decades. The current downturn could even rival the iconic price crash of 1986.

Bank of America Corp said on Wednesday it would replace its chief financial officer and some other top executives in a management shakeup, four months after the bank barely scraped by in a U.S. Federal Reserve stress test.

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