NEW YORK: Global stocks finished mixed on Thursday as investors wound down their positions before the Easter break, with strong US retail sales data and mostly solid earnings lifting Wall Street modestly.
US retail sales rose 1.6 percent in March, handily beating expectations, due in part to robust auto sales.There was also a batch of generally positive earnings reports from American Express, Honeywell International and others, reports AFP.
Analysts now project that companies in the S&P 500 will report a 2.3 percent decline in earnings-per-share in the first quarter, a bit better than the 2.7 percent drop seen on the eve of the reporting season, according to CFRA Research.
“There were lowered expectations of profitability, so businesses are doing a little better than expected,” said Brian Battle, a director at Performance Trust Capital Partners.
“The market has rallied a really long way,” he added. “We need more good news to push higher from here.”
The S&P 500 finished the session at 2,905.03, up 0.2 percent for the day but down a hair for the week.
The euro meanwhile slid versus the dollar as data showed business growth in the eurozone had hit the lowest level since 2014 on German sluggishness and stagnation in France.