Stocks Hover as Earnings Flow In

Nokia reports a huge quarter, while Intel's outlook lingers.
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The stock market was uncharacteristically quiet early Thursday as mixed signals from a handful of tech heavyweights provided no clear course of action for frazzled investors.

Index futures recently showed the

S&P 500

trading half a point above fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a flat open. The 10-year Treasury bond was up 2/32 in price to yield 4.51%, while the dollar rose against the yen and euro.

Earnings news flowed briskly, with

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

saying its first-quarter profit rose to about 30 cents a share, while revenue jumped 28% to $11.7 billion. Both numbers were well ahead of analysts' forecasts.

German software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

said first-quarter earnings rose 11% to $348 million, slightly below estimates, while software license sales gained 22%. The company affirmed full-year revenue guidance.

The software makers' results follow a slew of reports late Tuesday. The biggest was arguably

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

, which reported lower sales and earnings for its first quarter and took an ax to its full-year sales estimate.

Reflecting competition from

Advanced Micro

(ADM) - Get Report

and ebbing PC demand, Intel now sees 2006 revenue falling by 3% from 2005, to $38.8 billion. The chipmaker had previously forecast a 6% to 9% gain.

The picture was brighter at

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

, whose second-quarter profit rose 41% to $410 million, or 47 cents a share, beating estimates by 3 cents. At $4.36 billion, however, sales were about $170 million light.

Shares of

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

slipped despite a solid first quarter in which adjusted earnings rose 24% from a year ago to 24 cents a share, matching estimates. Sales rose 35% to $1.39 billion, also matching estimates.

Problems surfaced with eBay's guidance, however. For the second quarter, the online auction house expects to earn 22 cents or 23 cents a share on sales of $1.37 billion to $1.42 billion. Analysts were looking for 24 cents a share on $1.42 billion. The deficit was similar in the company's full year estimate and shares lost 5% after hours.

To view David Peltier's video take on today's premarket action, click here

.

Another hardware giant,

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

, had a solid report. Adjusted earnings of 41 cents a share and sales of $1.83 billion both topped estimates. The company guided its second quarter in line.

Prior to the after-hours earnings deluge, stocks turned in a positive session Wednesday, as the huge gains of a day earlier were held and tech stocks continued to advance. For the session, the

Dow

rose 10 points to 11,279, while the S&P 500 added 2 points to 1310 and the

Nasdaq Composite

added 15 points, or 0.6%, to 2371.

Overseas markets were mostly higher Thursday, with London's FTSE recently up 0.2% to 6102 and Germany's Xetra DAX adding 0.4% to 6016. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.2% overnight to 17,318, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.7% to 16,944.

Oil remained near record highs after closing above $72 for the first time ever on Wednesday. Concerns about possible economic sanctions against Iran and an anemic report on U.S. fuel inventories continued to the run. Recently, crude futures were 13 cents to $72.30 a barrel in electronic Nymex trading.

Other earnings due out Thursday include reports from

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

,

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

,

BellSouth

(BLS)

and

XTO

(XTO)

.