NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A mixed bag of earnings pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq into the red on Thursday.
The S&P 500 was down 0.59% and the Nasdaq fell 0.62% as earnings reports from tech stocks such as Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get QUALCOMM Incorporated Report and Alibaba (BABA) - Get Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Sponsored ADR Report disappointed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.13% with losses limited by a jump in McDonald's (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation (MCD) Report shares. The world's largest fast food chain was more than 3% higher after announcing that CEO Don Thompson would be leaving the company. Thompson had held the position since July 2012 during some of the its worst years of draining sales and weak profits.
Qualcomm beat earnings estimates, but cut its profit outlook on increased competition in China. The chipmaker said it expects earnings as high as $5.05 a share over the full year, below estimates of $5.21. Shares fell more than 9%.
Alibaba was selling off after missing sales estimates, a symptom of slowing growth in the Chinese e-commerce market. The company reported revenue of $4.2 billion, though up 40% year over year, missed forecasts of $4.45 billion. Shares declined 10.5%. Yahoo! (YHOO) , which owns a 15% stake in Alibaba, tumbled 7.4%.
Facebook (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report shares were fluctuating after management said it planned for heavy investment in growth over 2015. Quarterly profit surged to 54 cents a share from 31 cents last year.
Losses in the tech sector overshadowed better-than-expected earnings results elsewhere. Deutsche Bank (DB) - Get Deutsche Bank AG Report was up nearly 5% after reporting an unexpected fourth-quarter profit on increased investment banking revenue. Coach (COH) shares rose more than 5% as comparable sales in the U.S. fell at a slower-than-expected pace. Second-quarter income of 72 cents a share beat estimates, though revenue dropped 14%.
Ford (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report was slightly lower despite sales and earnings beating forecasts. Foreign currency translation clipped profits in some regions including the Asia Pacific. Colgate-Palmolive (CL) - Get Colgate-Palmolive Company Report was up nearly 6%. Net profit of 76 cents a share narrowly beat forecasts by 2 cents.
The number of initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 43,000 to 265,000 in the week ended Jan. 24, their lowest level since April 2000. Economists had expected jobless claims of 300,000. The week, shortened by Martin Luther King Day, is typically volatile as the labor market settles after a busy holiday season. The more stable four-week average slipped to 298,500 from 306,750 a week earlier.
Pending home sales in January fell 3.7% month on month, a surprise drop compared to expectations of an increase of 0.5%. The decline was the largest monthly fall since December 2013.
"Despite the unexpected pullback, we expect pending home sales to recover some ground in the coming months as falling mortgage rates provide a tailwind to the housing market," said TD Securities' Gennadiy Goldberg. "With annual payroll gains coming off their strongest year in 15 years, consumer confidence at cycle highs, and wage growth expected to accelerate in the coming months, we retain an optimistic outlook on housing, even as we caution that momentum is likely to remain choppy over the near-term."
Crude oil prices slipped on Wednesday as U.S. inventories increased 8.9 million barrels over the week, nearly double estimates of 4.6 million barrels. On Thursday, West Texas Intermediate crude was flat at $44.48 a barrel.
Crude oil prices remain more than half their midsummer peak in 2014 and the plunge is having a continued effect on oil companies. Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) tumbled 2.5% despite nearly doubling fourth-quarter profit to $4.2 billion. The oiler said it plans to slash capital expenditures and other spending by $15 billion over the next three years in response to plunging oil prices.
ConocoPhillips (COP) - Get ConocoPhillips Report dropped 2.7% after announcing plans to trim capex by $2 billion to $11.5 billion. That reduction was on top of a previously announced 20% decrease in its full-year budget.
Germany fell into deflation for the first time in more than five years after prices dropped 0.5% in January. Economists expected the eurozone's largest economy to post a 0.2% decline in consumer prices. The European Central Bank committed to a $1.2 trillion stimulus plan last week to jumpstart a flagging eurozone economy.
European markets were mixed. Germany's DAX was down 0.11%, France's CAC 40 added 0.28%, and London's FTSE 100 slid 0.76%. The euro gained 0.44% to $1.13 against the U.S. dollar.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.