US stocks moved mostly lower in early trade Friday following a series of uneven earnings reports and a drop in US housing starts.
About 55 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 24.66 (0.15 percent) to 16,441.67.
The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 2.81 (0.15 percent) to 1,843.08, and the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 8.71 (0.21 percent) at 4,209.97.
Friday's earnings reports included strong figures from Morgan Stanley, disappointing results from Intel and profits from Dow component General Electric that met expectations.
"The early sense of things so far is that the fourth quarter wasn't a slam-dunk quarter despite the incoming signs of improving activity," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.
US housing starts declined almost 10 percent in December after November’s five-year high. But the December decline was a bit less than analysts expected.
General Electric fell 2.5 percent after reporting earnings that matched expectations. Analysts expressed disappointment with some details in the report, such as results in its power and water division.
Chipmaker Intel, another Dow component, fell 4.0 percent after earnings of 52 cents per share lagged expectations by a penny amid continued weakness in personal computer sales.
American Express jumped 5.6 percent after reporting quarterly earnings of $1.3 billion, more than twice the year-ago level. The results "reflected a healthy increase in billed business in the US and internationally," said chief executive Kenneth Chenault.
UPS dropped 1.8 percent after it slashed its fourth-quarter forecast to $1.25 per share, below the $1.43 expected by analysts. The company was forced to hire some 30,000 more temporary employees during the Christmas shopping season than it had planned, to deal with an unexpectedly strong surge in shipping from online orders.
Investment bank Morgan Stanley gained 3.9 percent after quarterly results came to 50 cents per share, excluding a large legal charge, besting expectations of 45 cents. Morgan Stanley took a $1.2 billion charge due to litigation and investigations on residential mortgage-backed securities.
The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.86 percent from 2.84 percent, while the 30-year increased to 3.79 percent from 3.77 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.