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Stocks flat in early trading; GE up, Intel fall
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NEW YORK (AP) — A mixed batch of earnings reports from some of Corporate America's biggest names kept the stock market treading water in early trading Friday. General Electric and Morgan Stanley rose after turning in better report cards, while a 27 percent drop in earnings sank Intel's stock.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged down two points to 13,593 as of 10:33 a.m. EST.

GE led the 30 stocks in the Dow after the conglomerate reported stronger quarterly earnings, helped by orders from Brazil, Angola and other developing countries. Profits increased at all seven of its industrial segments, including oil and gas, energy management, aviation and transportation. GE rose 55 cents to $21.85.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell one point to 1,479 and the Nasdaq composite fell seven to 3,129.

The Dow and the S&P 500, a widely used benchmark for investment funds, are headed for their third straight week of gains. The Dow is up 0.8 percent and the S&P 0.5 percent.

Morgan Stanley's earnings surged across its many business lines, as more companies hired the investment bank to help it raise money and line up mergers. Morgan Stanley jumped 6 percent, rising $1.16 to $21.91.

Intel fell 6 percent, the biggest drop in the Dow. The world's biggest chipmaker said late Thursday that fourth-quarter net income fell 27 percent. A growing preference for smartphones and tablets, instead of personal computers and laptops powered by Intel chips, have made investors wary of the company's stock. It dropped $1.44 to $21.24.

American Express fell $1.73 to $59.01. Hefty charges tied to the credit card issuer's plan to cut jobs and reorganize some business lines hurt results, and revenue fell short of estimates.

Analysts forecast that companies in the S&P 500 will report a 3.2 percent increase in fourth-quarter earnings over the same period the year before. They expect banks and other financial firms along with consumer-discretionary companies to have the strongest profit growth of any industry, according to S&P Capital IQ.