Wall Street holds steady, oil rises and dollar declines

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange April 6, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Michael Connor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street equities finished modestly lower on Thursday as investors worried about coming corporate results, while European stocks fell nearly 1 percent under the weight of Greece's worsening financial predicament.

Euro zone government borrowing costs hit new lows, the dollar dropped, and oil prices climbed to fresh 2015 highs on fighting in Yemen.

Wall Street was down most of Thursday despite another flurry of better-than-expected profit reports, including Netflix and Goldman Sachs, and eye-catching initial offerings.

Shares of Etsy Inc, an online marketplace for handmade goods and crafts, finished up 87.5 percent in their market debut. Stock in electronic trading firm Virtu Financial Inc closed 16.74 percent higher in a sign that public angst over "high-frequency" trading is waning.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 6.84 points, or 0.04 percent, to 18,105.77, the S&P 500 fell 1.64 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,104.99 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 3.23 points, or 0.06 percent, to 5,007.79.

Some on Wall Street worry that forthcoming results may disappoint.

"This is a pricey market. It needs earnings to sustain it, and the earnings need to be sustained by strong demand." said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners in New York.

Of the 51 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported, 76.5 percent exceeded profit expectations, well above the long-term average of 63 percent. Only 47.1 percent have beaten on revenue, however, below the historical average of 61 percent.

German 10-year note yields fell to a low of 0.072 percent after the Financial Times reported that the International Monetary Fund had rebuffed an informal request by Greek officials to delay loan repayments.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Reuters on Thursday he was "firmly optimistic" his government would reach an agreement with foreign creditors.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.9 percent lower at 1,635.76 after gaining 0.6 percent on Wednesday to reach levels not seen since late 2000.

Most U.S. Treasuries yields fell modestly in choppy trading driven partly by worries about Greece and a strong reading from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's survey of economic activity.

Crude oil prices turned up after news that tribal forces had taken control of a major oil terminal in Yemen.

Brent crude for June delivery rose 66 cents to settle at $63.98 a barrel, rallying from a $62.00 low and reaching a 2015 peak for front-month Brent of $64.95.

U.S. May crude rose 32 cents to settle at $56.71, hitting a 2015 high of $57.42 after recovering from a $55.07 intraday low.

The U.S. dollar fell, on track for its biggest daily decline against a basket of major currencies in nearly two weeks after comments from Federal Reserve officials and weak U.S. data pushed out expectations for the first Fed rate hike.

The euro was last up 0.73 percent against the dollar at $1.0762.

(Additional Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica, Caroline Valetkevitch and Karen Brettell in New York and Jamie McGeever in London; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and James Dalgleish)