Markets: Analysts Crush Turnaround Hopes

Among companies issuing results, energy trader and pipeline operator The Williams Cos. reported higher operating earnings for the second quarter, beating Street estimates, thanks to better refining margins and stronger natural gas prices. Shares rose 15 cents at $33.24.

Tyson Foods Inc. lost more than 5 percent after the largest U.S. poultry producer said quarterly earnings fell sharply, as expected, pressured by weak foreign currencies and promotional expenses in a tough market. Shares fell 53 cents at $9.87.

Desktop publishing software provider Adobe Systems dropped $2.15 to $40.91 after it said it should meet its earnings targets, but could take a hit on revenue because of weaker-than-expected conditions across its product lines.

Heavy Week of Economic Releases

Investors are girding for a packed U.S. economic calendar later this week, including data on personal spending, the manufacturing sector and the labor market that could cast more light on the murky economic picture — and the outlook for corporate profits.

Nearly 80 percent of the Standard & Poor's 500 companies have announced quarterly earnings so far. Of that total, 56 percent topped analysts' estimates and 14 percent missed forecasts, according to market research firm Thomson Financial/First Call, a slightly better performance than usual as analysts slashed estimates after a particularly harsh profit-warning season.

Analysts expect profits of S&P 500 companies to decline by 17.2 percent in the second quarter compared with year-ago levels, according to First Call. They see third-quarter profits shrinking 11.5 percent, but scraping out a gain of 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter, First Call said. Up until early last week, those same analysts had predicted growth of 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter.

Friday’s Trading Highlights

Technology stocks inched higher Friday as wireless company Qualcomm's forecast of better profits offset worries over job cuts at fiber-optics component maker JDS Uniphase amid huge losses, but blue chips slipped after a two-day winning streak.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 38.96 points, or 0.37 percent, to end at 10,416.67. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 2.89 points, or 0.24 percent, to 1,205.82. The technology-laced Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 6.11 points, or 0.30 percent, to 2,029.07.

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