While you were sleeping: eBay rallies as it drops PayPal

Trading on Wall Street swung between gains and losses as investors grappled with a flurry of earnings reports.

Gains were bolstered by better-than-expected corporate earnings from Facebook and eBay. Facebook rose 4% while eBay closed 14% higher.

eBay shares rallied on an upbeat outlook and its plans to team up with Adyen, a Netherlands-based global payments company, shifting away from its longtime payments processing partner PayPal. Shares of PayPal fell 6.3%.

"Moving away from PayPal, lowering the costs of selling products on the marketplace makes eBay a more significant competitor because it lowers the relative cost versus others including Amazon," said DA Davidson & Co's analyst Tom Forte, Reuters reported.

At the close of trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 37.32 points, or 0.1%, to 26,286.71. The Nasdaq Composite Index eased 0.3% to 7385.86 and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped marginally to 2821.98.

Gains were limited as investors adjusted to the possibility of accelerating inflation and interest rate increases following Wednesday's statement at the end of a Federal Reserve policy meeting.

"There are concerns that rates are moving up and inflation is firming," Jeff Zipper, managing director for investments at Private Client Reserve at US Bank, told Reuters.

"If inflation moves higher then the chances of a fourth rate hike go up. The market is a lot more jittery and is dissecting every piece of economic data more closely."

Bond prices keep falling
US Treasuries declined, sending the yield on the 10-year note five basis points higher to 2.773% from 2.722% on Wednesday.

Among other results, UPS shares fell 6.1% after the company said its latest quarterly results were hurt by the cost of responding to service delays during the holiday season, while Hershey shares fell 6.0% after missing analysts’ estimates for earnings and revenue.

DowDuPont fell 2.75% after the company's first-quarter and full-year sales and profit outlook fell short of analysts' expectations.

First-quarter earnings will be hurt by farmers delaying orders and "aggressive competitive pressure" in crop seeds, Jim Collins, chief operating officer of the agriculture unit, said on a conference call, according to Bloomberg.

"It's going to be a tough go here as we start out the year," he said.

DowDuPont plans spinoffs
DowDuPont chief executive officer Ed Breen said the company had increased its goal for annual cost savings to $US3.3 billion, up from US$3 billion.

"We also are making significant progress standing up the intended public companies, which we now expect to spin about 14 to 16 months from today," he said in a statement.

Materials Science is expected to separate by the end of the first quarter of 2019, while Agriculture and Specialty Products are expected to separate by June 1, DowDuPont said.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended 0.5% lower. Germany's DAX Index dropped 1.4%, the UK's FTSE 100 index slid 0.6% and France's CAC40 Index retreated 0.5%.

"The market is a bit stretched and the DAX hitting some technical levels, like the 50-day moving average, has certainly triggered some of the declines," Benno Galliker, a trader at Luzerner Kantonalbank in Lucerne, Switzerland, told Bloomberg.

"It looks like more of a technical thing-the fundamentals are still solid, earnings are overall good and the economy is doing well," he added. "Any dip would be short-term and a buying opportunity for me."


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