US stocks fall, ending 4-day streak

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks closed mostly lower Friday, ending a four-day winning streak, as the sheen came off the European Central Bank's stimulus announcement and profit taking set in.

But the Nasdaq held up for a gain, its mostly tech stocks pulled up in part by coffee chain Starbucks, which added 6.5 per cent on quarterly earnings that matched expectations and the announcement of a new president and chief operating officer.

After advancing 1.5 per cent Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 141.38 points (0.79 per cent) at 17,672.60.

The S&P 500 lost 11.33 (0.55 per cent) at 2,051.82.

But the Nasdaq Composite pushed higher, adding to Thursday's 1.8 per cent gain another 7.48 points (0.16 per cent) at 4,757.88.

After Thursday's strong buying, the air drifted out of the market's enthusiasm for the ECB stimulus, analysts said.

"There's sort of a hangover after yesterday's celebration. Some people decided to cash in some of the gains we saw," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at Standard and Poor's Capital IQ.

Industrial giant General Electric led the Dow with a 0.8 per cent rise after posting net income of US$5.15 billion (S$6.92 billion) for the October-December quarter, a gain of 61 per cent from a year ago.

Chevron led the Dow losers, down 1.9 per cent.

Starbucks, struggling to find new avenues of growth, named Kevin Johnson, formerly the chief executive of networking company Juniper, to forge a path forward. Johnson has served on the Starbucks board since 2009.

Cloud storage firm Box soared 65.4 per cent in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, its US$14 IPO price jumping to US$23.15.

Google and Twitter, subject of rumours of a possible Google-led merger on Thursday that gave both 3 per-cent-plus gains, edged higher. Google was up 1 per cent while Twitter added 0.9 per cent.

Also in tech stocks, online property hub Zillow surged 8.2 per cent on its report that 5,000 real estate professionals had signed up as "partners" for its Zillow Pro for Brokers website.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 1.82 per cent from 1.9 per cent Thursday, while the 30-year dropped to 2.39 per cent from 2.47 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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