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U.S. stocks fall, Microsoft earnings disappoint; Dow Jones down 0.34%

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Shutterstock photo - U.S. stocks opened lower in subdued trade on Friday, as investors were eyeing a fresh batch of earnings reports, although recent comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke still supported.

During early U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.34%, the S&P 500 index shed 0.32%, while the Nasdaq Composite index tumbled 1.14%.

In his second day of testimony on monetary policy before the Financial Services Committee in Congress, Bernanke reiterated that monetary policy will remain highly accommodative, even as the central bank starts to pare back its bond buying.

On Wednesday, Bernanke said the central bank expects to start tapering bond purchases by the end of the year, but added that there was no "preset course."

He added that the bank's bond purchase program could be tapered at a faster pace, slower pace or even temporarily increased depending on economic and financial developments.

In earnings news, General Electric said earnings came in a penny higher than estimates, sending shares up 3.22%.

Honeywell added to gains, jumping 1.42% after the diversified manufacturer posted better-than-expected earnings and lifted the low end of its 2013 outlook.

In addition, Schlumberger rallied 4.03% after the oilfield services company topped earnings expectations as drilling activity outside North America touched a 30-year high.

Elsewhere, Microsoft plummeted 9.48% as the tech giant reported after the U.S. close on Thursday that fourth-quarter profit missed analysts' projections by the biggest margin in at least a decade as demand weakens for personal computers running Windows.

Google plummeted 3.21% after the Internet company reported second-quarter sales and profit that missed estimates as mobile advertising crimped average prices.

In company news, Time Warner Cable said it's balking at renewing an agreement to carry CBS's broadcast network on its pay-TV system because the entertainment company is asking for too much money. Shares climbed 2.90% at the open of the U.S. trading session.

Other stocks expected to be in focus included Baker Hughes, Whirlpool and Kansas City Southern , scheduled to post second quarter results later in the day.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower. The EURO STOXX 50 dropped 0.42%, France's CAC 40 retreated 0.46%, Germany's DAX slid 0.38%, while Britain's FTSE 100 declined 0.59%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up 0.08%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index tumbled 1.48%.

Trading volumes were expected to remain light on Friday, as no U.S. data was scheduled to be released throughout the day. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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