US stocks: Wall Street near flat, but Internet names gain ground

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - US stocks were nearly flat on Thursday as gains in Internet shares were offset by a decline in Exxon Mobil.

Exxon reported first-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations, but its shares dipped 1 per cent to US$101.43 (S$127.04) and led the way down for the S&P 500.

Shares of Cardinal Health and Textron, which reported some disappointing quarterly results, also limited gains.

Facebook, up 2.2 per cent at $61.06, and other Internet shares were among the day's better performers, helped by strong results from Yelp, whose shares gained 9.5 per cent to $63.85.

Netflix Inc rose 4.4 per cent to $336.28 while TripAdvisor Inc added 3.5 per centto $83.58.

The shares had slumped recently on concerns that they, along with biotech "momentum" names, were overvalued. The Nasdaq ended April with a 2 per centloss for the month, while both the Dow and S&P 500 had slight gains.

"The kind of rotations we've seen to me are very often the prelude to a general selloff," said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners in New York.

"Tech has badly underperformed the S&P and Dow. The risk trade is coming off," he said. "To me the risk trade coming off means eventually the market trade is coming off."

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 54.87 points or 0.33 per cent, to 16,525.97, the S&P 500 lost 3.76 points or 0.2 per cent, to 1,880.19 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.743 points or 0.04 per cent, to 4,116.299.

On the downside, Cardinal fell 5.4 per cent to $65.78 as its revenue missed expectations, while Textron lost 4.2 per cent to $39.16 following its results.