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20.01.2012 18:31

Most U.S. stocks declined

Most U.S. stocks declined, snapping a three-day advance for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, amid disappointing quarterly results at companies including Google Inc., American Express Co.  and General Electric Co.

Google, owner of the most popular Internet search engine, fell 8 percent as revenue and profit missed estimates. American Express, the largest credit-card issuer by purchases, and GE (GE) slid more than 1.2 percent as sales trailed forecasts. Microsoft (MSFT) Corp., International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and Intel Corp. (INTC) rose at least 1.6 percent as results beat projections.

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose for a third month in December to the highest level since January 2011, a sign the housing market ended last year with momentum. Greek officials and private creditors entered a third day of negotiations on a debt swap deal that’s crucial to lowering the country’s borrowings and freeing up a second round of international aid.

Google tumbled 8 percent to $588.55. Chief Executive Officer Larry Page is moving into new markets to ignite growth outside Google’s traditional search-based business. That effort contributed to an 8 percent drop in the average price Google gets when users click an ad, because it charges less for ads on mobile devices and in emerging markets, said Herman Leung, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group.

GE fell 1.2 percent to $18.93. Revenue dropped 8 percent to $38 billion from $41.2 billion a year earlier, including the sale of NBC Universal. That’s lower than the average estimate of $40 billion from 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

American Express lost 2 percent to $49.95. The company reported fourth quarter revenue of $7.74 billion, missing the average analyst projection of $7.9 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Profit excluding some items beat analysts’ estimates as card spending reached a record.

Fifth Third Bancorp sank 4.6 percent to $12.94. Ohio’s largest lender reported fourth-quarter sales of $1.46 billion, missing the average analyst estimate of $1.52 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

IBM gained 4 percent to $187.69 after forecasting 2012 earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as fourth-quarter profit rose 4.4 percent because of rising software demand.

Microsoft added 3.9 percent to $29.21. The company’s Xbox business got a boost from Christmas shoppers, who snapped up its video-game consoles and Kinect sensor controllers, and signed up for the Xbox Live online service.

Intel increased 1.6 percent to $26.04. The chipmaker predicted first-quarter revenue that may top analysts’ estimates, signaling that the shortage of disk drives that throttled personal computer production may be ending.

Schlumberger Ltd. rose 1 percent to $73.60. The world’s largest oilfield-services provider said fourth-quarter profit rose 36 percent as higher crude prices pushed oil companies to boost exploration and production spending around the world.

20.01.2012 19:06

European stocks close:

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