S&P 500 struggles for direction on mixed quarterly results

April 21, 2023 3:12 PM EDT

By Yasin Ebrahim -- The S&P 500 struggled for direction Friday, as investors weighed a surge in Amazon and mixed quarterly earnings ahead of results from big tech next week.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat, or 4 points higher, and the Nasdaq rose 0.2%. (NASDAQ: AMZN) jumped more than 3% as its Whole Foods business is reportedly planning to cut hundreds of jobs as part of a restructuring.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), meanwhile, steadied after a slump a day earlier as the electric vehicle maker said it would hike prices in the U.S., just a day after slumping more than 10% following disappointing quarterly results.

Still, the ongoing slew of mixed quarterly results weighed on investor sentiment, with materials the biggest loser on the day, driven by a slump in Freeport-McMoran Copper&Gold.

Freeport-McMoran Copper&Gold (NYSE: FCX) reported quarterly results that topped estimates, but profit more than halved and the mining company warned of a further impact from ongoing labor shortages, sending its shares more than 5% lower.

Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE: RF) reported first-quarter results that missed on the bottom line and a 3% slide in deposit.

In health care, HCA Holdings Inc (NYSE: HCA) jumped more than 4% as it upgraded its annual guidance after delivering quarterly results that topped estimates.

Tech, meanwhile, continued to stutter as investors await the quarterly results from big tech next week.

Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) kick off earnings for big tech on Tuesday.

Energy stocks sidestepped the uptick in oil prices as sentiment was soured by a more than 5% slump in Schlumberger NV (NYSE: SLB) as the oil field services company’s better-than-expected Q1 results were overshadowed by weaker margins and cashflow.

Free cash flow for the quarter fell $265 million, missing Goldman Sachs’ estimates of $772M, driven by “stronger than expected use of cash in working capital,” Goldman Sachs said.

On the economic front, manufacturing activity picked up in April, climbing to a reading of 50.4 from 49.2 previously, signaling a return to expansion. Services activity also inched higher to a reading of 53.7 from 52.6 last month.

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