Stocks backed away from multiyear highs Thursday as the yield curve's inversion widened and traders took the measure of some underwhelming earnings news.
Index futures recently showed the
trading 3 points below fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a 4-point decline. The 10-year Treasury bond was down 3/32 in price to yield 4.54% -- 15 basis points below the two-year note's yield -- while the dollar was lower against the yen and euro.
Oil held steady after dropping $1.19 a barrel Wednesday as traders turned defensive ahead of today's Energy Department inventory update. The report is expected to show roughly million-barrel builds in crude and gasoline stocks and a small decline in distillates. Recently, April crude was losing 8 cents to $60.93 a barrel.
Overseas markets were mixed, with London's FTSE 100 recently down 0.4% to 5848 and Germany's Xetra DAX little changed at 5862. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei rose 2% overnight to 16,096, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.1% to 15,812.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
closed at nearly a four-year high Wednesday as a rally in bank stocks lifted the broader market. The Dow gained 0.6% to 11,137, while the S&P 500 rose 0.8% to 1293 and the
gained 0.9% to 2283.
delivered first-quarter earnings that were better than its recent profit guidance implied, saying earnings rose 49% from a year ago to $163.9 million, or 98 cents a share. Toll guided 2006 earnings above estimates but also reiterated its now familiar litany of caution, saying speculator activity leaves it "on the other side" of a previously accelerating demand slope.
said pro forma earnings from continuing operations fell 42% from a year ago to $220 million, or 29 cents a share. Adjusted for charges, earnings of 37 cents a share were 10 cents short of estimates.
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fourth-quarter earnings rose 63% from a year ago to $5.9 million, or 5 cents a share, matching estimates. The company pegged 2007 earnings at 20 cents to 22 cents a share on revenue of $470 million to $475 million. Analysts were forecasting earnings of 24 cents a share on sales of $475 million.
reported a 21% decline in fourth quarter profit to $13.8 million, or 24 cents a share, while adjusted profit of 21 cents a share was a penny light. Sina put first-quarter revenue at $44.5 million and $46.5 million. Analysts had been forecasting $52.2 million.
said funds from operations were 44 cents a share in its fourth quarter, higher than expected, but the hospitality REIT said first-quarter FFO should be 23 cents to 25 cents a share, below the 31-cent consensus.