Stocks hesitate as investors work through earnings


NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were edging slightly higher Thursday, as investors worked through another batch of technology earnings, including results from Facebook.

Investors wait to hear from the Bank of Japan tomorrow, where the bank is expected to announce more stimulus for the world’s third-largest economy.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 17 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,455 as of 10 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose a point, or 0.05 percent, to 2,168 and the Nasdaq composite rose nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,149.

LIKE: Facebook shares rose $4.34, or 4 percent, to $127.68. The social networking company reported earnings that more than doubled from a year earlier, topping analysts’ views, as well as a 15 percent rise in monthly users.

Investors will get results from Google’s parent company Alphabet and Amazon after the market close Thursday.

JAPAN IN FOCUS: Investors are now hoping for fresh stimulus efforts from the Bank of Japan, which is expected to vote Friday on expanding monetary policy measures aimed at reviving sputtering growth in Asia’s second biggest economy. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced 28 trillion yen ($266 billion) in extra government spending to jumpstart growth, but details are uncertain.

“All focus will be on the Bank of Japan on Friday and trading will be cautious heading into the event,” said Alex Furber of CMC Markets in Singapore.

NOT SO ORGANIC: Whole Foods Market fell $2.84, or 9 percent, to $30.79 after the high-end supermarket chain reported that sales declined in the quarter, as the company faces more competition from other supermarkets who have been increasing their organic produce options.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 8 cents to $41.98 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price international oils, was down 13 cents to $43.79 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro was up against the dollar at $1.1104 while the dollar fell 0.5 percent to 104.69 yen.

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