NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks edged lower on Friday from a five-year high for the S&P 500 as a weak outlook from tech heavyweight Intel offset a better-than-expected quarterly profit at Morgan Stanley.
But the S&P 500 was still on track to end higher for a third consecutive week.
Shares of Intel Corp
"Intel earnings weren't that bad, although their revenue was weak. It sparks fears about not only the company but about the whole PC sector, and that's pressuring the market today," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.
The Intel results were offset somewhat by Morgan Stanley
Overall, S&P 500 fourth-quarter earnings rose an estimated 2.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. Expectations for the quarter have dropped considerably since October, when a 9.9 percent gain was estimated.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> was down 15.17 points, or 0.11 percent, at 13,580.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> was down 3.51 points, or 0.24 percent, at 1,477.43. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.ixic> was down 13.98 points, or 0.45 percent, at 3,122.03.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose to its highest since late 2007, and that could prompt investors to lock in recent gains, analysts said.
Despite the day's decline, market sentiment was still positive on speculation that chances were better of avoiding a debt ceiling fight in Washington. House Republicans signaled on Thursday they might support a short-term extension of U.S. borrowing authority next month.
"The debt ceiling issue is sort of out of the news. The market has definitely become complacent. And we all know that the issue will be dealt with, we just need to find out when. If December is any guide, they are going to leave it up to the last minute so the market is definitely more complacent than it should be for now," Ghriskey said.
Reflecting the complacency, the CBOE Volatility index <.vix>, Wall Street's so-called fear gauge, fell 4.1 percent at just above 13. The VIX usually moves inversely to the S&P 500 as it is used as a hedge tool against further market decline.
Economic data from China provided some support to the market, though the focus remained on U.S. corporate earnings. The country's economy grew at a modestly faster-than-expected 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter, the latest sign the world's second-biggest economy was pulling out of a post-global financial crisis slowdown which saw it grow in 2012 at its weakest pace since 1999.
Despite the gains by Morgan Stanley, financial stocks sagged as Capital One Financial
Research In Motion
(Editing by Bernadette Baum, Kenneth Barry and Nick Zieminski)