Wall Street little changed at early trading on mixed industry results

A file picture of a trader at the New York Stock Exchange. PHOTO: AFP
A file picture of a trader at the New York Stock Exchange. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - U.S. stocks were little changed in early trading on Friday as investors assessed mixed results from industrial heavyweights.

GE's shares rose 2.7 per cent to US$28.79 - their highest since the financial crisis - after reporting better-than-expected earnings.

But Honeywell fell about 1 percent to US$97.64 even though it also beat profit estimates.

Industrial tools maker Grainger fell 5.2 per cent to US$210.0 after its results missed estimates. "Today's earnings are mixed. They don't paint a strong one-directional picture of improvement or deterioration," said Doug Burtnick, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management.

Mr Burtnick said he expects the day's trading to be mostly muted. "This could, without some other piece of news, be one of those settle-in and not very exciting kind of days."

At 9:58 a.m. ET (9:58 pm Singapore time), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 16 points, or 0.09 per cent, at 17,157.75, the S&P 500 was up 3.09 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 2,026.95 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 1.44 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 4,868.66.

Seven of the 10 major S&P sectors rose, with the telecom sector's 0.75 percent rise leading the advancers.

Global stocks advanced on Friday, taking cues from Thursday's rally in U.S. stocks triggered by strong results from Citigroup and positive data.

S&P 500 companies are expected to report a 4 percent fall in third-quarter profit, the biggest decline in six years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The dollar rose after Thursday's data rekindled hopes that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates this year.

The Fed, which kept rates at near-zero levels at its September meeting, is waiting for signs of stabilizing inflation and sustained economic recovery before it pulls the trigger.

U.S. industrial production in September shrank for the second month in a row, but was in line with expectations.

The University of Michigan's preliminary index on consumer sentiment for October, which is forecast to rise to 89 from a final reading of 87.2 in September, is due at 10:00 a.m.

Youku Tudou jumped 23.4 percent to $25.21 after Alibaba offered to buy the video-streaming company for $26.60 per American Depository Share. Alibaba was up 1.6 percent at $72.96.