Wall Street holds steady, oil rises and dollar declines

Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:14pm EDT
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By Michael Connor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street equities finished modestly lower on Thursday as investors worried about coming corporate results, while European stocks fell nearly 1 percent under the weight of Greece's worsening financial predicament.

Euro zone government borrowing costs hit new lows, the dollar dropped, and oil prices climbed to fresh 2015 highs on fighting in Yemen.

Wall Street was down most of Thursday despite another flurry of better-than-expected profit reports, including Netflix and Goldman Sachs, and eye-catching initial offerings.

Shares of Etsy Inc, an online marketplace for handmade goods and crafts, finished up 87.5 percent in their market debut. Stock in electronic trading firm Virtu Financial Inc closed 16.74 percent higher in a sign that public angst over "high-frequency" trading is waning.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 6.84 points, or 0.04 percent, to 18,105.77, the S&P 500 fell 1.64 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,104.99 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 3.23 points, or 0.06 percent, to 5,007.79.

Some on Wall Street worry that forthcoming results may disappoint.

"This is a pricey market. It needs earnings to sustain it, and the earnings need to be sustained by strong demand." said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners in New York.

Of the 51 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported, 76.5 percent exceeded profit expectations, well above the long-term average of 63 percent. Only 47.1 percent have beaten on revenue, however, below the historical average of 61 percent.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange April 6, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid