Wall St mixed as eyes on US GDP, jobs

Wall Street was mixed overnight as investors awaited key reports on economic growth and employment later this week.

In afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.05 per cent. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.14 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.22 per cent.

Shares of Kellogg climbed, last up 1.8 per cent, after the company said it would cut 7 per cent of its workforce over four years in an effort to reduce costs. It also reported an increase in quarterly profit.

With about three-quarters of S&P 500 companies having reported results so far, 69 per cent have exceeded expectations, while 53 per cent have beaten revenue forecasts, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Against that backdrop, the S&P 500 has gained 25 per cent, while the Dow has advanced 29 per cent so far this year.

"The fundamentals of US equities are still decent," Michelle Clayman, chief investment officer at New Amsterdam Partners in New York, told Bloomberg News. "Valuation is not stretched. There is still earnings growth."

Investors are eyeing the latest US GDP and employment data, due on Thursday and Friday respectively.

Gross domestic product probably expanded at a 2 per cent annualised rate in the third quarter, down from a 2.5 per cent pace in the second, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg, while payrolls probably rose by 125,000 workers in October, down from a 148,000 gain in September.

Twitter is attracting strong demand for its initial public offering. It expects to sell 70 million shares at US$23 to US$25 each, above a previous estimate of US$17 to US$20, Twitter said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company plans to close the books on the IPO a day earlier than scheduled, on Tuesday at 12:00 pm EST, because of strong demand, Reuters reported, citing two sources with knowledge of the process.

Meanwhile, shares of BlackBerry plunged 15.1 per cent to C$6.83 after the company abandoned a plan to sell itself, and instead opted for a US$1 billion investment and management changes. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins will step down, while John Chen will be appointed Executive Chairman.

"The important thing is, what is the strategy?" James Moorman, an analyst with S&P Capital IQ in New York, told Bloomberg News. "They have a chance, and they have a little more runway with the additional cash, but they need to start making some smart decisions."

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 0.3 per cent gain from the previous close, finishing at the highest level in more than five years.

Elsewhere, Germany's DAX added 0.3 per cent, while France's CAC 40 and the UK's FTSE 100 both rose 0.3 per cent.

- BusinessDesk

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 30 Aug 2014 01:58:25 Processing Time: 450ms