Stocks turned lower by late Friday morning after a flash reading on manufacturing in April fell to a seven-year low and earnings from tech giants disappointed investors.
The S&P 500 was down 0.42%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.33%, and the Nasdaq slid 1.4%.
U.S. manufacturing fell in April to its lowest since September 2009, according to the Markit flash manufacturing PMI. The measure slipped to a reading of 50.8 from 51.4 in March, below consensus of 52. Production volumes languished as new business growth slowed. Manufacturing employment was at its weakest since mid-2013.
Earnings have been a key driver of markets this week. Wall Street snapped a three-day winning streak on Thursday with the Dow falling below 18,000 again on a string of earnings disappointments including Verizon (VZ - Get Report) and Qualcomm (QCOM - Get Report) .
General Electric (GE - Get Report) fell 1.5% as profit in its key industrials business fell. The conglomerate is currently in the process of shedding assets to focus on its core industrials businesses. Industrial operating profit fell 3% to $2.9 billion over the quarter, while organic orders tumbled 7%.
Starbucks (SBUX - Get Report) tumbled 5.4% after global sales slowed, flaming worries over its growth potential. Global comparable-store sales rose 6% in its second quarter, down from 8% growth in its first quarter. Europe proved challenging with an unfavorable currency exchange eating into the topline. The coffee chain failed to raise full-year earnings forecasts beyond $1.89 a share already expected."Starbucks has no room for a same-store sales miss, even a marginal one -- sustainability (and consistency) of a high-single digit percentage same-store sales growth, 10% plus overall sales growth and 15% to 20% earnings per share growth algorithm is ultimately key [for the stock]," said Jack Mohr, research director of Action Alerts PLUS, which own Starbucks shares.
Alphabet (GOOGL - Get Report) fell more than 5% as quarterly profit rose from a year earlier, though not at as fast a pace as analysts had expected. Net income increased 26%, while adjusted earnings of $7.50 a share missed estimates of $7.96 a share. The parent company to Google saw higher traffic acquisition costs and expenses and lower aggregate paid clicks.Alphabet stock was trading near all-time highs before the report "leaving no wiggle room for a disappointment on what were very high expectations," said Jim Cramer, TheStreet's founder and manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, which owns Alphabet.
"While some bears may point toward the operating expense growth in the quarter," Cramer added, "we note that this is due to a sizable yet targeted increase in head count as the company ramps [up] its efforts across cloud, apps and other high-priority areas."
Visa (V - Get Report) slid 3.7% after reporting a second quarter broadly in line with expectations. Quarterly earnings of 68 cents a share topped estimates by just a penny, while revenue of $3.6 billion matched forecasts."All in all, we are encouraged by the company's underlying operating trends, and while we do not discount the company's modestly reduced fiscal 2016 net revenue guidance, we believe this positions the company well for earnings beats and upward guidance revisions in the coming quarters," said Jim Cramer, TheStreet's founder and manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, which owns Visa.
Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) was sharply lower after missing quarterly estimates on its bottomline. The tech giant earned 47 cents a share in its third quarter, falling from 61 cents a share logged in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted earnings of 62 cents a share fell short by 2 cents.
McDonald's (MCD - Get Report) added more than 2% as all-day breakfast sales helped to boost revenue and earnings over its first quarter. The world's largest fast food chain earned $1.23 a share in its recent quarter, up from 84 cents a year earlier and above consensus of $1.16. Same-store sales in the U.S. rose 5.4%, beating estimates of 4.4%.
Caterpillar (CAT - Get Report) slipped after lowering its outlook on weaker demand for construction and mining equipment. The company expects full-year revenue no higher than $42 billion, at the midpoint of previous guidance between $40 billion and $44 billion.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD - Get Report) soared 40% after issuing strong second-quarter guidance and announcing a Chinese licensing deal and joint venture with Chinese firm THATIC. The deal includes a $293 million licensing agreement which will be paid on certain milestones. The chipmaker anticipates second-quarter sales up 15% quarter on quarter, double what analysts had expected.
Honeywell (HON - Get Report) edged higher on a better-than-expected quarter. The aerospace company posted a 9% increase in per-share profit, earning $1.53 a share which topped estimates by 3 cents. Sales climbed 3% to $9.52 billion.
Schlumberger (SLB - Get Report) was slightly higher despite halving profit in its recent quarter on continued challenges in the energy space. The oil-fields services company has suffered as oil producers slash capital spending during a prolonged period of low oil prices. Revenue tumbled 36% to $6.52 billion.
"Despite operating in an industry suffering from a "full- scale cash crisis" (per the words of Chairman and CEO Paal Kibsgaard), the company managed to remain solidly profitable," said Cramer and Mohr. Schlumberger is a holding in their Action Alerts Plus portfolio. "While it cannot control the macro, it continues to navigate the landscape with a clear vision, focusing on balancing market-share gains with profitability while also ensuring it preserves the core capabilities of the company for the long term."
Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) added 8% after finalizing a contract to name Perrigo (PRGO - Get Report) CEO Joseph Papa as its next chief executive. Papa's appointment soothed investors' nerves which have been frayed after months of slumping share prices amid an investigation into its accounting practices.
Sears Holdings (SHLD) added 1% after announcing plans to close 68 K-Mart stores and 10 Sears locations in late July. Liquidation sales should begin within days. The company said these "aggressive actions" will help restore the retailer to profitability.