Belfast Telegraph

US stocks see slight gains amid mixed company earnings

US stocks saw another day of meagre gains on Thursday as investors worked through a new batch of mixed company earnings, including results from Facebook.

Cautious investors are looking ahead to a meeting of the Bank of Japan on Friday which is expected to result in an announcement of more stimulus for the world's third-largest economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 15.82 points, or 0.1%, to 18,456.35. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 3.48 points, or 0.2%, to 2,170.06 and the Nasdaq composite rose 15.17 points, or 0.3%, to 5,154.98.

After the market's upwards movement this month, investors have mostly been in wait-and-see mode this week.

While it has been a busy week for corporate earnings, and individual stocks have moved a lot, the overall market has been relatively quiet.

Market strategists have said that stocks have become expensive in recent days, and many investors are waiting for earnings to play out before making any major moves.

Facebook shares rose 1.66 dollars, or 1.3%, to 125 dollars. The social networking company reported earnings that more than doubled from a year earlier, topping analysts' views, as well as a 15% rise in monthly users. However the shares had been much higher earlier in the session.

NetSuite jumped 16.84 dollars, or 18%, to 108.41 after computer software giant Oracle announced it was buying the company for 9.3 billion dollars. NetSuite and Oracle both specialise in high-end software, but NetSuite specialises more in cloud computing while Oracle is heavy on mainframe database software.

Investors got results from Google's parent company, Alphabet, and Amazon after the market closed on Thursday. Amazon rose 2% and Alphabet rose 3% as both companies' results beat analysts' expectations.

Investors are now hoping for new stimulus efforts from the Bank of Japan, which is expected to vote on Friday on expanding monetary policy measures aimed at reviving sputtering growth in Asia's second-biggest economy.