Wall Street on Track for Positive Week
In addition to Europe, "there are a lot of people potentially looking forward to next week's non-farm payroll and unemployment report after last month's ... worse-than-expected," said Joe Bell, senior equity analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research. "People are just trying to see if that was kind of a blip or whether there's actually going to be some slowing in the labor market."
Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.33% and Japan's Nikkei Average closed 0.43% lower.
Ahead of the open, U.S. automaker Ford (F) reported earnings of $1.4 billion, or 35 cents a share, on revenue of $32.4 billion, down 2% from a year earlier. Shares shed 2.3%.
Adjusted earnings in the quarter were 39 cents a share. The results beat the average expected earnings of 35 cents a share on revenue of $31.5 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.
Amazon was the standout report of the day. The online mega-retailer topped analysts' earnings estimates, showing some progress on margins. The company posted earnings of 28 cents a share as revenue rose 34% to $13.2 billion, thanks in part to strong Kindle Fire sales.
In other corporate news, Expedia(EXPE) shares were soaring nearly 24% after the online travel company posted a first-quarter loss, though profit excluding certain costs in the period beat expectations.
Merck(MRK) shares ticked lower after the drug maker posted first-quarter adjusted earnings of 99 cents a share, which edged past the Wall Street consensus target by a penny.
Procter & Gamble(PG) shares closed down 3.6% after the consumer products giant lowered its full-year outlook to $3.82 to $3.88 a share from $3.93 to $4.03. Analysts, on average, were expecting profit of $3.96 a share. The stock was the biggest percentage decliner in the Dow.
"The challenge from an earnings perspective is that you've got nominal growth in the economy still at a very low level, and profit margins are already at cyclical highs," adds RidgeWorth's Gayle. "So this means that continuing to generate strong earnings numbers becomes more difficult, which is why earnings estimates have come down and why I think we're getting a market that's much more discerning about this reporting period."