U.S. stocks ended Friday mixed, pressured upward by solid housing data and lower by mixed quarterly corporate earnings.
At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.25%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.39%, while the Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.50%.
General Electric reported that its revenue and profits increased in the fourth quarter of last year, in line with many expectations, while financial institution Morgan Stanley beat expectations as well.
However, UPS disappointed markets with its earnings and outlook, while Intel also released earnings that missed expectations.
Offsetting mixed earnings, data released earlier showed that U.S. housing starts rose dropped 9.8% and came in at 999,000 units in December from an upwardly revised 1.107 million units in November.
Markets were expecting to see 990,000 in new housing starts, and the better-than-expected figure boosted spirits by suggesting fundamental improvements are taking place in the U.S. housing sector and broader economy as a whole.
Separately, official data showed that U.S. building permits declined 3% to 986,000 million units in December from 1.017 million units the previous month. Analysts had expected building permits to slip to 1.015 million units last month, though the dollar applauded housing starts.
Elsewhere, the preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell to 80.4 in January from 82.5 in December, defying expectations for a rise to 83.5, which watered down stock prices.
Also in the U.S., the Federal Reserve reported that U.S. industrial production rose 0.3% in December, a fifth consecutive monthly increase and in line with market expectations, which offset the sluggish consumer sentiment repor.
Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Visa, up 4.60%, General Electric, up 3.78%, and Nike, up 0.80%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average''s worst performers included Intel, down 2.62%, General Electric, down 2.08%, and Nike, down 1.81%.
European indices, meanwhile, finished higher.
After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.09%, France''s CAC 40 rose 0.19%, while Germany''s DAX 30 rose 0.26%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished up 0.20%.
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