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Wall St advance loses steam as Caterpillar reverses; Biogen climbs

The greenback had suffered its biggest daily percentage drop in seven months after US Treasury Secretary said he welcomed a weaker currency

Reuters  |  New York 

Wall Street

The was little changed on Thursday as early gains spurred by solid earnings reports and a decline in the dollar evaporated and shares turned negative.

Inc gained 0.66 per cent after the drugmaker reported fourth-quarter revenue that beat Wall Street estimates on higher sales of recently-launched drug Spinraza.

But the early drive higher stalled as Inc shares turned negative after rising as much as 2.8 per cent. Shares were last down 1.03 per cent as investors booked profits in a stock that was up about 8 per cent heading into the week.

"It opened up big and then all of a sudden it is tanking, that pulled down a lot of positive momentum in the market," said Peter Costa, President, Empire Executions Inc in New York.

"For whatever reason, it is not going (up) anymore and people just start taking profits and pulling money out."

Robust quarterly earnings reports and economic data have helped propel major Wall Street indexes to a strong start this year, with each on track for the fourth week of gains.

According to Thomson Reuters data through Wednesday morning, earnings growth for the benchmark is expected at 12.4 per cent. Of the 88 companies in the index that have posted results, 78.4 per cent have topped expectations, while 72 percent had done so on average in the previous four quarters.

The Industrial Average rose 99.44 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 26,351.56, the gained 1.68 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,839.22 and the Nasdaq Composite added 4.28 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 7,419.34.

The kept its ultra-easy policy unchanged but weakness in the U.

S. dollar accelerated as Draghi warned the surge in the euro was a source of uncertainty and said the bank might have to review strategy if US comments on a weak dollar lead to a change in monetary conditions.

The dollar fell 0.72 per cent against a basket of major currencies and held near three-year lows. A weaker dollar tends to benefit large US multinational companies.

The greenback had suffered its biggest daily percentage drop in seven months on Wednesday after US Treasury Secretary said he welcomed a weaker currency.

On Thursday, Mnuchin said a weaker dollar benefited US trade balances in the short term but that he believed in the long-term strength of the currency.

Weekly initial jobless claims rose to 233,000 from a downwardly revised 216,000 in the prior month, but were below the 240,000 forecast, indicating the labor market continues to tighten.

However, sales of new US single-family homes fell more than expected in December, recording their biggest drop in nearly 1-1/2 years.

shares slumped 3.36 per cent after the automaker posted a lower-than-expected quarterly net profit. The company's bottom line was hurt by rising commodity costs and unfavorable currency exchange rates, and it expected more pain to come from higher raw material prices in 2018.

After the close of trading on Thursday, results are expected from and

First Published: Thu, January 25 2018. 23:45 IST