Two giant credit card companies helped lift the Dow Friday. American Express (AXP) gained 3.5 percent as fourth-quarter earnings doubled. The company cited strong consumer spending during the holidays. That in turn lifted Visa (V) by 4.5 percent. Both are among the 30 stocks in the Dow Industrials.
As a result, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) gained 41 points, but the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost 7 points, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) fell 21 points.
Not all of the earnings news from blue chip companies was as well-received.
Intel (INTC) fell 2.5 percent. Its results were pretty much in line with expectations, but its forecast was a bit weak. A lot of market pros watch Intel and other semiconductor makers as leading indicators of where the market is headed. General Electric (GE), another bellwether, fell more than 2 percent. Its net was in line, but analysts say the company's profit margin was disappointing.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%And one more company we frequently cite as a key indicator of the broader economy: UPS (UPS) fell nearly 1 percent. The delivery company warned about its fourth-quarter results. It was caught flat-footed by the last minute surge in online shopping and had to hire 30,000 more seasonal workers than planned.
In the financial sector, Morgan Stanley (MS) gained more than 4 percent as it beat the Street. Among regional banks, SunTrust (STI) rose 3.5 percent on a big increase in its net, but Capital One (COF) fell 5 percent and M&T Bank (MTB) lost 2.5 percent.
Thursday's two biggest losers continued to slide. Best Buy (BBY) fell another 8.5 percent, based on its reports of a sales decline for the holidays. And NuSkin (NUS) lost another 6 percent. The personal care company's business practices are under investigation by officials in China, one of its biggest markets.
Payment services business Qiwi (QIWI) slid 13 percent. The company's major market is in Russia, and that nation his indicated it may limit Qiwi's cross-border electronic transfers due to concerns about terrorism and money laundering.
And Elizabeth Arden (RDEN) tumbled 19 percent to a 52-week low after issuing a disappoint earnings forecast.
Note: Financial markets will be closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
What to Watch Tuesday:
These major companies are due to report quarterly financial results:
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
Delta Air Lines (DAL)
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
Texas Instruments (TXN)
Verizon Communications (VZ)
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.