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Stocks Mixed Again in Undecided Day of Trading


Earlier gains faded by mid-afternoon Thursday as better-than-expected bank earnings countered a choppy session for crude oil.

The S&P 500 was flat, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.06%.

Bank of America's (BAC - Get Report) trading revenue took a hit and lower interest rates continued to pressure profits. The bank earned 21 cents a share, lower than 25 cents a year earlier but a penny higher than analysts' estimates. Trading revenue, which accounts for roughly one-fifth of total sales, fell 15.5% to $3.29 billion as markets suffered a rough start to the year. Shares rose 2.1%.

"Although disappointed [in the revenue miss], we are not surprised, considering the volatile markets throughout the quarter and the fact that we saw the same trend impact JP Morgan Chase's results, which were reported on Wednesday," Jim Cramer and Jack Mohr, portfolio managers for the Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio, wrote.

BlackRock (BLK) shares added 1.8% after the money manager reported a drop in quarterly profit, dragged down by foreign exchange weakness and a volatile start to the year for markets. Assets under management fell to $4.74 trillion, down 1% from a year earlier. BlackRock also confirmed restructuring plans, though didn't confirm reports it would cut around 400 jobs, the highest number of planned layoffs in its history.