Stocks were mostly lower on Friday as positive earnings from industry leaders including General Electric (GE) and Visa (V) couldn't fully distract from geopolitical concerns stemming from the upcoming French election.
The S&P 500 was down 0.16%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.02%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.11%.
The first round of voting in France's closely watched presidential election will take place over the weekend. France goes to the polls Sunday in an election that could decide the fate of the European Union. Eleven candidates will be in the initial round of voting. Any of four of them, spanning the spectrum from extreme-right to extreme-left, could progress to a second round of voting on May 7, when the two most popular candidates will face off.
The outcome of the election grows even more uncertain after Thursday's shooting on Paris' Champs-Elysees boulevard that killed a police officer and wounded three other people. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
General Electric fell 1.5% despite swinging to a first-quarter profit. Net income of $619 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with losses of $61 million, or 1 cent a share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Adjusted earnings of 21 cents a share beat consensus by 4 cents. Revenue declined 1% to $27.66 billion, though topped analysts' estimates of $26.37 billion. GE saw growth in its oil and gas, health care, transportation, and power businesses, among others.
Visa dipped following better-than-expected quarterly earnings. The credit card company earned 86 cents a share, 7 cents higher than expected. Revenue climbed 23.1% to $4.47 billion. Payments volume grew 37% to $1.7 trillion, while total processed transactions increased 42%. Visa also authorized a $5 billion stock repurchase program.
Schlumberger (SLB) shares fell more than 3% after the oilfield services company reported first quarter revenue below analyst expectations for the period. Earnings of 25 cents a share met consensus, while revenue of $6.89 billion came in short of a target of $6.98 billion.