Stocks edge higher but leave banks behind

Financial stocks fell broadly Thursday, left out of a late lift that pared earlier losses for most major stock indexes.

Financial stocks fell broadly Thursday, left out of a late lift that pared earlier losses for most major stock indexes.

Goldman Sachs dropped nearly 3 percent after Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said that a panel he leads found new evidence that Goldman misled investors. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. each fell more than 1 percent.

The Standard and Poor's 500 stock index added 0.11 point, or less than 0.1 percent, to close at 1,314.52. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14.16, or 0.1 percent, to 12,285.15. The Nasdaq composite lost 1.30, or 0.1 percent, to 2,760.22.

Until recently, most investors assumed banks had put their troubles behind them, said Todd Salamone, director of research at Schaeffer's Investment Research. He pointed to JPMorgan Chase, the first large bank to release earnings. The bank reported first-quarter results Wednesday that beat forecasts, but CEO Jamie Dimon warned that the company could still take more losses from mortgages.

"That's one of the better banks," Salamone said, "so it makes you wonder what's going to happen going forward."

Bank of America, the country's biggest bank and one of largest mortgage underwriters, reports earnings Friday morning.

Stock indexes were lower for most of the day after claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly for the first time in three weeks. The Labor Department said 412,000 people applied for unemployment benefits last week. Economists expected claims to fall.

Applications for benefits peaked at 659,000 during the recession and have dropped by roughly 6 percent in the past four months.

Ford Motor Co. fell 1.1 percent. The car maker announced that it was expanding its recall of its F-150 pickup truck because of a problem with air bags. Ford's F-Series truck is the best-selling vehicle in the U.S.

Among companies reporting earnings, toy maker Hasbro Inc. fell 3 percent after reporting that its first-quarter profits slumped 71 percent. The results fell short of analysts' estimates.

Grocery chain Supervalu said quarterly profits and sales fell compared with a year ago. Analysts expected earnings to be worse. Supervalu rose nearly 17 percent.

Data-storage company Iron Mountain rose 5 percent. Iron Mountain replaced its CEO after a shareholder, the hedge fund Elliott Management, called for a strategic review of the business.

Rental car company Zipcar Inc. shot up nearly 56 percent on its first day of trading.

Google Inc. fell 4 percent in after-market trading after the Internet search company reported earnings that missed estimates.

Four stocks rose for every three that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Consolidated volume came to 4 billion shares.

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