- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wall Street closed Wednesday with mixed results after seeing more quarterly-earnings reports, including a worse-than-expected one from Morgan Stanley.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 7,886.57, down 82.99 points. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed at 843.55, down 6.53 points, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 1,646.12, up 2.27 points.

Morgan Stanley reported $578 million in losses from January to March, breaking a string of upbeat, first-quarter reports from the financial industry during the markets’ six-week rally.

Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase have had better-than-expected first-quarter reports. And U.S. markets largely have taken their lead from the reports.

On Wednesday, AT&T; Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. were among the major U.S. companies outside of the financial industry to report better-than-expected first-quarter results.

McDonald’s reported that profits increased by 4 percent over the same period last year. AT&T; said profits fell 9.7 percent compared with the first quarter of 2008 but that its wireless division is strong, having activated 1.6 million iPhones in the past three months.

AT&T; stock was up 1.8 percent, to $25.74 a share, at the close of trading. McDonald’s was down 2.48 percent, to $54.25.

Capital One Financial Corp. reported more than $111 millionin net losses for the first quarter, compared with a $1.4 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2008. The company said it would add $124 million to reserves for loan losses “in anticipation of higher expected charge-offs in 2009.” U.S. markets are trying to extend a rally that follows 12-year lows in March.

The markets fell Monday, with the Dow losing 289 points, then recovered Tuesday after Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said a majority of U.S. banks have enough capital to cover additional losses in the recession.

Analysts interpreted his remarks as an indication of favorable results from the government’s so-called stress tests for the country’s 19 biggest banks. The results are expected to be made public early next month.

Mr. Geithner, in a speech before the Economic Club of Washington, said nothing new about the Obama administration’s plans for the U.S. banking industry, instead focusing on the global economy and Tuesday’s International Monetary Fund report, which forecast that the recession would cost banks worldwide more than $4 trillion in credit losses.

In overseas trading, Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.18 percent, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 1.08 percent, Germany’s DAX Index was up 2.06 and France’s CAC-40 was up 1.72 percent.

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