The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) was down just five points as of 11:30 a.m. EDT. IBM (NYSE: IBM ) was the index's worst performer, falling more than 3% following disappointing quarterly earnings results. Along those lines, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) and Travelzoo (NASDAQ: TZOO ) were down 4% and more than 7%, respectively, after posting poor earnings.
Jobless claims come in below expectations
Initial jobless claims, a indicator of the strength of the U.S. labor market and the economy as a whole, came in better than expected on Thursday. According to the Department of Labor, 304,000 workers filed for benefits last week, less than the 315,000 that some economists had anticipated.
Given that the Dow was largely flat in late-morning trading, disappointing earnings results from a number of major tech components may have offset the positive jobs data.
IBM falls after earnings
IBM was underperforming the Dow after reporting a quarter that fell below expectations. While earnings per share were roughly in line with analysts' expectations, revenue came in light ($22.48 billion versus $22.91 billion).
IBM offered guidance that was better than expected, promising full-year earnings per share of $18 (compared to a $17.84 estimate). Still, that wasn't enough to avoid a sell-off. Investors may have focused on IBM's hardware and systems storage revenue, which both fell 23% on a year-over-year basis.
Like IBM, Google also appeared to be the victim of poor earnings results. While quarterly revenue fell in line with analyst expectations, earnings per share missed the consensus estimate by roughly $0.15. During the earnings call, Google management cited the acquisition of Nest Labs as a reason for the miss, as the $3.2 billion purchase contributed to Google's expenses. But there were also some troubling trends afflicting Google's earnings -- cost-per-click (what Google charges advertisers) fell roughly 9%.
Travelzoo tumbles following profit decline
Travelzoo quarterly revenue declined by 5% while its operating income fell 13%.
Travelzoo has been a disappointing investment in recent months, and Thursday's sell-off only adds to its losses. Year to date, the online travel deal specialist is down more than 15%; at roughly $18 per share, it is worth only about one-fifth of what it was worth in mid-2011.
Google strikes first
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