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Stocks Close Mixed after Choppy Session

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Stocks Close Mixed after Choppy Session

Stocks in the US started the trading session slightly in the red as better than expected earnings on Friday were offset by slightly disappointing earnings after the bell on Thursday. January has been a flat month to date, with all three major indexes trading near the closing price on December 31, 2013. Stocks closed mixed with the Dow notching up gains but the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closing in the red.

After the bell on Thursday, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) reported earnings that were weaker than expected, putting a drag on the semi-conductor sector. Intel’s fourth quarter earnings rose 6.4% to $2.63 billion as revenue increased 2.6% to $13.83 billion. Despite the revenue beat earnings per share of $0.51 missed consensus by a penny. The disappointing earnings results weighed on the semi-conductor sector which has been a leader in 2014.

On a positive note, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) reported earnings beat for the fourth quarter of 2013 with earnings per share of $0.50. Analysts expected earnings per share of $0.44. Revenue came in at $8.2 billion compared to analysts’ expectations of earnings of $8.0 billion.

Yields in the US continued to move lower, since last Friday’s non-farm payroll report. Prior to the released of the unemployment number, the 10-year yield was printing near 3%, but over the course of the last 6-trading session, the yield has declined back to 2.83%. Lower yields have helped stocks hold support levels, and will likely keep equities buoyed until economic data pushed yields above 3%.

In economic news, Housing Starts fell 9.8% in December an annual rate of 999,000, pulling back after a surge in November, with drops for single-family homes and apartments. Economists had expected cold weather to take a toll on new construction, and forecast that overall housing starts in December declined to a rate of 985,000 from a prior starts-rate estimate of 1.09 million for November. Additionally, the government reported that building permits, fell 3% in December to an annual rate of 986,000. For all of 2013, permits hit 974,700, also reaching the highest annual level since 2007.

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