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Microsoft Weighs On Nasdaq; S&P Recovers From Early Losses - U.S. Commentary

Wall Street put in a mixed performance on Friday, as investors took a breather after recent gains. A sharp decline in shares of Microsoft (MSFT) contributed to declines in the Dow and the Nasdaq. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 rebounded from early weakness to finish with a mild advance. The rally allowed the index to set another record closing high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished off its lows of the day, but still ended 4.80 below the flat line at 15,543.74. The Nasdaq, hurt by weakness in the technology sector, retreated 23.66 points, or 0.7 percent, to finish at 3,587.61.

The S&P 500 lost ground at the start of trading, but made a steady recovery throughout the session. The index eventually finished higher by 2.72 points, or 0.16 percent, at 1,692.09.

Disappointing quarterly results from a couple of tech giants weighed on the market. Shares of Microsoft dropped 11 percent after the software maker revealed disappointing financial figures. Earnings news also prompted a 1.6 percent slide in shares of Google (GOOG).

Friday's mixed performance followed strength earlier in the week. The market had been helped by some upbeat economic statistics and comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who detailed Fed policy to lawmakers in appearances before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday.

Microsoft revealed a profit for its latest quarter, reversing a loss in the same period last year, when results were hurt by a hefty goodwill impairment charge related to its Online Services Division. However, the software giant's bottom line came in below expectations.

Meanwhile, Google reported quarterly earnings that rose from last year, but results also came in below projections. The Internet search giant suffered from soft ad rates.

Outside of tech, appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) reported a higher second-quarter profit. The company also lifted its earnings outlook for the full year 2013. Shares of Whirlpool rose 8 percent on the session.

Diversified conglomerate General Electric Co. (GE) reported a profit for the second quarter that edged up from last year, reflecting a smaller loss from discontinued operations. Total revenues declined 4 percent, and GE Capital revenues decreased 3 percent. Shares of GE (GE) advanced 4.6 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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