Stocks had another day of meager gains on Thursday as investors worked through a new batch of mixed company earnings, including results from Facebook, Ford and Whole Foods.
Cautious investors are looking ahead to a meeting of the Bank of Japan on Friday which is expected to result in an announcement of more stimulus for the world’s third-largest economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 15.82 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,456.35. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3.48 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,170.06 and the Nasdaq composite rose 15.17 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,154.98.
After the market’s run-up this month, investors have mostly been in wait-and-see mode this week. While it’s been a busy week for corporate earnings, and individual stocks have moved a lot, the overall market has been relatively quiet. Market strategists have said that stocks have gotten expensive in recent days, and many investors are waiting for earnings to play out before making any major moves.
Once again, technology companies were front and center. Facebook shares rose $1.66, or 1.3 percent, to $125. 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. However the shares had been much higher earlier in the session.
NetSuite jumped $16.84, or 18 percent, to $108.41 after computer software giant Oracle announced it was buying the company for $9.3 billion. NetSuite and Oracle both specialize in high-end software, but NetSuite specializes more in cloud computing while Oracle is heavy on mainframe database software. Oracle rose 26 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $41.19 on the news.
Investors got results from Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and Amazon after the market close Thursday. Amazon rose 2 percent and Alphabet rose 3 percent as both companies’ results beat analysts’ expectations.
Investors are now hoping for new stimulus efforts from the Bank of Japan, which is expected to vote today 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.