Markets muted despite Apple, Facebook

Created: 04/24/2014 11:26 AM WHEC.com

LONDON (AP) — Solid earnings from Apple helped shore up global markets on Thursday despite other disappointing earnings and an earlier hefty retreat in Tokyo.

As well as delivering forecast-busting numbers, Apple impressed investors in its after-hours statement Wednesday with news that it is earmarking an additional $30 billion for buying back its stock through next year. The move, which is designed to give its stock price a lift following a period of relative underperformance, takes the total for that timeframe up to $90 billion.

Despite a 7 percent rise in Apple's stock Thursday, U.S. stock indexes drifted as some of the shine faded after results from the likes of Raytheon and 3M came up short of forecasts. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.1 percent at 16,492 while the broader S&P 500 index rose 0.1 percent to 1,877.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.2 percent at 6,686 while Germany's DAX fell 0.6 percent to 9,490. The CAC-40 in France was 0.2 percent higher at 4,459.

U.S. economic data failed to have much of an impact on trading as solid orders for longer-lasting U.S. goods was offset by a surprisingly big 25,000 increase in weekly jobless claims.

Earlier, in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average underperformed badly, closing down 1 percent at 14,404.99 as talks over trade between President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe failed to yield much. Obama's state visit to Japan is the first by an American president in nearly 20 years. He also is to visit South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Hideyuki Suzuki, general manager of the investment market research department at SBI Securities Co. in Tokyo, said no one expected an immediate deal, but players still had some hope for progress in the meeting between the leaders.

"If there had been great anticipation of a deal, then the drop would have been even bigger," Suzuki said.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea's Kospi inched down 0.1 percent to close at 1,998.34 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.2 percent to 22,562.80

Trading elsewhere was steady, with the euro down 0.1 percent at $1.3815 and the dollar 0.3 percent weaker at 102.19 yen. A barrel of benchmark New York crude was 43 cents higher at $101.87.


Yuri Kageyama contributed from Tokyo.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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