The US bourse is set to open higher as European leaders get ready to meet.

New York - US stocks moved into negative territory in early trade Friday following uneven earnings and sales reports from leading retailers.

About 35 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 42.48 (0.26 percent) to 16,508.49.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 6.68 (0.36 percent) at 1,868.95, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 8.28 (0.20 percent) to 4,043.21.

Gap reported that April comparable sales jumped nine percent from the year ago level, but Ralph Lauren said profit margins in its next fiscal year will drop as it steps up investment in advertising and market.

Gap shares jumped 4.6 percent, while Ralph Lauren fell 5.1 percent.

Publicity giants Omnicom and Publicis called off a $35 billion merger that would have fashioned the world's largest advertising house amid disagreements over integrating the companies and filling key executive positions.

In New York, Omnicom was up 0.3 percent while in Paris, Publicis shares fell 0.4 percent.

Apple shares fell 0.8 percent amid reports it is close to announcing a $3.2 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics, which makes headphones and has a popular music-streaming service.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs disclosed that regulators have questioned the company over its high-speed trading operations and its foreign-hiring practices.

Shares dipped 0.7 percent.

Bond prices fell.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.62 percent from 2.61 percent Thursday, while the 30-year increased to 3.45 percent from 3.43 percent.

Bond prices and yields move inversely. - Sapa-AFP