US stocks erase an early loss and are little changed in the afternoon as earnings disappoint



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This July 6, 2015 photo shows a Wall Street sign near the New York Stock Exchange. Most major global markets rose Thursday, July 30, 2015, after the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at a record low, corporate earnings mostly did better than expected and investors awaited U.S. economic growth figures. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)


NEW YORK — After starting the day broadly lower, U.S. stocks recovered nearly all of their losses by mid-afternoon Thursday and were trading near breakeven. Investors remain focused on earnings. A batch of disappointing results from Procter & Gamble, Facebook and others weighed on the market. Investors are also looking over a report that showed the U.S. economy rebounded in the second quarter.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,740 as of 1:40 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost a point, or 0.04 percent, to 2,108 and the Nasdaq composite was up 21 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,132.

RECOVERY: The U.S. economy grew at a 2.3 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, rebounding from a harsh winter. Leading the growth was a surge in consumer spending, the backbone of the U.S. economy, and a recovery in foreign trade. While positive, the data looks at the U.S. economy three months ago and did little to boost stocks.

NO SALE: Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble fell $3.12, or 4 percent, to $77.49. The maker of Tide detergent and Gillette razors reported softer sales than Wall Street analysts had expected. The company, like many others, has been negatively affected by the strong dollar, which makes U.S. products more expensive abroad.

BAD PRODUCE: Whole Foods plunged $5.09, or 13 percent, to $35.73. The company reported a sharp slowdown in sales growth last quarter, partially hurt by the recent news that some Whole Foods locations in New York City were overcharging customers.

HIGHER EXPENSES: Facebook fell $2.46, or 2.5 percent, to $94.51 after the company's results, while positive, included a sharp 82 percent jump in expenses as the company invested in growth. Facebook's stock hit an all-time high on July 21.

CALM OVERSEAS: European and Asian markets had another day of decreased volatility. Trading has been volatile in the last month, as China's stock market took several sharp falls and Greece forged a last-minute deal with its creditors to shore up its finances.

Germany's DAX closed up 0.4 percent, France's CAC-40 index rose 0.6 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 also rose 0.6 percent. In Asia, China's Shanghai Composite lost 2.2 percent after rising more than 3 percent on Wednesday. Chinese stocks plunged 8.5 percent on Monday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude edged down 24 cents to $48.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose 0.4 percent to 124.34 yen and the euro edged down 0.6 percent to $1.0903. Russia's ruble fell 1.7 percent to 59.69 against the dollar. On Tuesday the ruble weakened to 60 to the dollar, the lowest point in more than four months. The ruble has been falling under the pressure of cheaper oil, reviving concerns over the country's economic outlook.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.27 percent from 2.29 percent late Wednesday.

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