Stocks hesitate as investors work through earnings


NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were edging slightly lower Thursday, as investors worked through another batch of mixed earnings’ results, including results from Facebook, Ford and Whole Foods.

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 lost 76 points, or 0.4 percent, to 18,395 as of 11:20 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost five points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,162 and the Nasdaq composite fell four points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,135.

LIKE: Facebook shares rose $2.74, or 2 percent, to $126.08. 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.

FED WATCH: Bond prices remained steady, after jumping sharply on Wednesday, follow the decision by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates steady. Investors are now looking to the September meeting. Securities that bet on which way the Fed will move rates show a 25 percent chance that the Fed will increase rates at that meeting.

NOT SO ORGANIC: Whole Foods Market fell $3.14, or 9 percent, to $30.50 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.

HAVEN’T DRIVEN A FORD LATELY: Ford shares lost $1.38, or 10 percent, to $12.47 after the company reported a 9 percent drop in profits as sales slowed in the U.S. and struggled in China. The company warned that its full-year guidance might need to be cut.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 54 cents to $41.38 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price international oils, was down 45 cents to $43.47 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro was up against the dollar at $1.109 while the dollar fell 0.5 percent to 104.77 yen.

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