Stocks Open Lower; Facebook Leaps, NetSuite Soars

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Stocks opened lower Thursday as more earnings reports came out.

The Dow industrials slid 0.4%, the S&P 500 0.3% and the Nasdaq 0.2%.

Earnings reports provided the central force driving the stock market, with Facebook (FB), Ford (F), Cirrus Logic (CRUS) and Infinera (INFN) among the movers. NetSuite (N), however, soared on confirmation of a takeover bid from Oracle (ORCL).

Jobless Claims, Trade Balance

Unemployment claims jumped to 266,000 in the week ended July 23, the Labor Department estimated, up from 252,000 claims in the prior week and above consensus views for an increase to 264,000 claims. The four-week moving average dipped to 256,500, a fourth straight decline.

The U.S. trade deficit widened to $63.3 billion in June, the Commerce Department said. That was up from May’s $60.6 billion trade gap, and more than the $61.1 billion estimated by economists.

Facebook, Ford Report; Oracle Buys NetSuite

In premarket trades, NetSuite spiked 18% after confirming Oracle had agreed to buy the cloud-based customer-relationship management programs leader in a deal valued at $9.3 billion. Oracle shares rose 2%.

A host of names big and small were in motion in a busy reporting session early Thursday: AstraZeneca (AZN) gained 5% at the open. Total (TOT) added 2%.

Facebook posted a 3% gain in early trading after reporting a 94% surge in earnings late Wednesday, along with a 60% revenue increase in its second quarter, easily clearing consensus views. Facebook, an IBD 50 and Leaderboard stock, ended Wednesday’s session in a buy range above a 121.18 buy point from a flat base.

Cirrus Logic stormed ahead 14%. The Austin, Texas-based chip designer reported after Wednesday’s close that its second-quarter earnings fell for a fourth straight quarter, but both sales and earnings slipped much less than anticipated. The stock is working on its 11th consecutive weekly advance, and taking new highs.

Cirrus peer Marvell Technology (MRVL) opened less than 1% higher. Its after-hours fiscal first-quarter report on Wednesday showed earnings and revenue falling for a sixth-straight quarter and further than forecast by analysts. But management guided second-quarter earnings and revenue above consensus views.

Matress maker Tempur Sealy International (TPX) popped 15% after a strong second-quarter beat.

Fiber-optic gear maker Infinera plummeted 33%, despite better-than-expected second-quarter sales and earnings. Chief Executive Tom Fallon said in a statement that “demand is softening in certain areas of our business, and we face a difficult near-term revenue outlook.”

Ford dropped 9% after a mixed second-quarter report, in which management said it may have trouble meeting its full-year earnings and revenue outlook. General Motors (GM) felt some of the downdraft, slipping 4%.

Oil Flat; Europe’s Markets Quiet

Oil prices were little changed, with West Texas Intermediate rising a fraction to near$42 a barrel. Brent crude was down a half percent and just above $43. Gold added more than 1% to top $1,342 an ounce. The dollar was again mixed: up vs. the pound and the yen, but weaker against the euro. The 10-year Treasury yield gained 3 basis points to 1.53%.

Markets overseas were generally quiet. China’s leading indexes ended Wednesday’s session mixed and in a tight range. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 slipped 1.1% ahead of Friday’s Bank of Japan policy meeting.

In Europe, benchmark indexes were narrowly lower in afternoon trade.

After Hours: Alphabet, Amazon.com

A busy after-hours earnings schedule includes reports from Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL), Amazon.com (AMZN), Baidu (BIDU) and Expedia (EXPE), among others.