* Dow up 0.03 pct, S&P 500 down 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.1 pct
* Apple earnings disappoint, stock ends down but off lows
* Economic growth picks up in 3rd quarter, but still weak
* For the week, Dow off 1.8 pct, S&P off 1.5 pct, Nasdaq off
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Oct 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks finished flat on
Friday, recovering from moderate declines as bargain hunters
rushed in to buy Apple, lifting it off its lows, and scooped up
other stocks recently battered by disappointing results.
For the week, though, stocks slid, following a series of
weak results, especially from U.S. multinational companies.
Apple's stock pulled back sharply from its session
low, although it still ended down 0.9 percent at $604. The
world's largest publicly traded company surprised analysts late
Thursday with its weak margin outlook, as well as with its
quarterly earnings and iPad sales that fell short of
expectations. The stock had fallen as low as $591 in Friday's
The PHLX semiconductor index rose 0.5 percent. A
number of companies, including Intel, bounced back from
losses last week, when the dominant chipmaker reported net
earnings and revenue that missed estimates. In Friday's session,
Intel's stock gained 1.2 percent to close at $21.95.
"As people chose to buy the dips in Apple, I think that gave
people a little bit more conviction to buy other names," said
Michael James, senior trader at Wedbush Morgan, in Los Angeles.
"You've also had a continued theme of buying semiconductor
stocks after disappointing earnings. That's frustrating those
that are short and has led to continued covering."
Investors had a muted reaction to U.S. data showing a
slightly better-than-expected pace of growth for the economy.
The 2 percent annual rate of growth for U.S. gross domestic
product for the third quarter confirmed analysts' views that the
economic recovery will be slow.
The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 3.53
points, or 0.03 percent, to close at 13,107.21. The Standard &
Poor's 500 Index dipped 1.03 points, or 0.07 percent, to
finish at 1,411.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained
1.83 points, or 0.06 percent, to end at 2,987.95.
For the week, the Dow fell 1.8 percent, the S&P 500 lost 1.5
percent and the Nasdaq dropped 0.6 percent.
Lighter revenues have been a concern this earnings season.
Just 36.9 percent of S&P 500 companies so far have reported
revenue that beat forecasts, compared with the 62 percent that
typically exceed expectations, according to Thomson Reuters
Earnings have fared better, with 62.5 percent above
expectations - almost even with the 62 percent that is
Amazon.com Inc escaped the market's malaise,
climbing 6.9 percent to $238.24 as analysts said the online
retailer's spending will hurt margins, but boost profit in the
Adding to uncertainty was the U.S. presidential election on
Nov. 6 - a little over a week away. Along with earnings and
growth worries, concerns about further political loggerheads
have helped push the benchmark S&P 500 index below a key support
level, the 50-day moving average, at around 1,434.
Many analysts expect the S&P 500's retreat to wane near
1,400 or 1,375, as the Federal Reserve's latest stimulus policy
puts a floor under stock prices.
Some of investors' attention on Friday may have been
diverted from the market to following news about Hurricane
Sandy, which could make landfall along the East Coast, including
New York, early next week. By Friday afternoon, the storm had
killed at least 41 people as it tore across the Caribbean.
The New York Stock Exchange said it plans on business as
usual, adding that it has contingency plans to keep the market
running - relying on back-up power generation facilities, if
necessary. The NYSE also said in a statement that it will make
accommodations for critical staff and traders.
In addition, NASDAQ OMX said in a statement that it has
plans to make sure its systems are ready, noting that it will be
regularly communicating with its members before, up to and after
Among other stocks that finished Friday's session with a
gain, Honeywell International edged up 0.1 percent to
$61.49. The diversified U.S. manufacturer, whose products range
from aircraft electronics to building control systems, said on
Friday that it would raise its quarterly dividend by 10 percent
to 41 cents per share, starting with the fourth-quarter dividend
payment on Dec. 10.
Volume was moderate on Friday, with about 6.02 billion
shares traded on the NYSE, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, compared
with daily average volume of 6.51 billion for the year to date.
Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a ratio of
about 17 to 12. On the Nasdaq, about seven stocks fell for every
five that rose.