(Adds dropped word “percent” in third paragraph)
* Netflix rallies after results, SanDisk lower
* Jobless claims unexpectedly rise in latest week
* Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all fall 0.1 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
April 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged lower on Thursday as corporate results showed little organic growth even as they largely beat profit expectations.
While Netflix surged following blockbuster results, curbing the decline on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, shares of SanDisk slumped following a weak revenue outlook that added to concerns about the pace of top-line improvement.
Of the 51 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported thus far, 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. That suggests companies are boosting their bottom lines with cost cuts rather than through business expansion.
“This is a pricy market. It needs earnings to sustain it, and the earnings need to be sustained by strong demand. Right now, I‘m not thrilled with the level of revenue growth we’re seeing,” said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners in New York.
First-quarter profits for S&P 500 companies are seen falling 2.6 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data, eroded by low oil prices, a strong dollar and extreme weather in the eastern United States. Revenue is seen down 2.8 percent.
Netflix was the S&P’s biggest gainer, up 15 percent at $544.80, a day after it added more subscribers than projected in the first quarter. SanDisk was the benchmark index’s biggest decliner, off 6.6 percent at $66.44 after its forecast.
Among other notable earnings, UnitedHealth Group Inc reported strong earnings and revenue growth, sending shares up 3.8 percent to $121.29. Goldman Sachs fell 0.8 percent to $199.49 despite reporting better-than-expected earnings. Both are Dow components.
Energy shares fell 1 percent as U.S. crude futures dropped 1.9 percent to $55.31 a barrel. That follows a rise of 5.8 percent on Wednesday, the fifth day of gains for the commodity.
U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly rose in the latest week, but continuing claims fell to their lowest since 2000, a trend that points to a strengthening labor market. U.S. housing starts rose far less than expected in March.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 20.99 points, or 0.12 percent, to 18,091.62, the S&P 500 lost 2.59 points, or 0.12 percent, to 2,104.04 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 6.18 points, or 0.12 percent, to 5,004.84.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,752 to 1,087, for a 1.61-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,388 issues fell and 1,136 advanced, for a 1.22-to-1 ratio.
The S&P 500 was posting 5 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 48 new highs and 9 new lows. (Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)