US stocks little changed; S&P 500 inches to record

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on July 14, 2014 in New York City
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on July 14, 2014 in New York City (AFP Photo/Spencer Platt)

New York (AFP) - Wall Street stocks Thursday finished little changed with the S&P 500 inching to a new record following mixed US economic data and a flood of corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 2.83 points (0.02 percent) to 17,083.80, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 1.59 (0.04 percent) to 4,472.11.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.97 (0.05 percent) to 1,987.98, creeping up to a record for the second day in a row.

Sales of new single-family houses fell 8.1 percent in June to an annual pace of 406,000, the Commerce Department said.

On the positive side, new claims for US unemployment insurance benefits slid to an eight-year low last week, dropping 19,000 to 284,000, the Labor Department reported.

Facebook surged 5.2 percent after earnings more than doubled to $791 million. But General Motors tumbled 4.5 percent as second-quarter profit slumped 85 percent to $190 million following a hefty charge for recalls.

Caterpillar fell 3.1 percent as it lowered its 2014 revenue forecast to a range of $54-$56 billion from the previous projection of $56 billion. The company cited a weaker outlook for construction in China, the Commonwealth of Independent States region made up of ex-Soviet countries and Africa/Middle East.

Athletic attire maker Under Armour shot up 14.7 percent after increasing its 2014 profit and revenue forecast following a 34 percent surge in second-quarter revenue to $619 million.

Other companies that reported earnings included American Airlines (-2.7 percent), Bristol-Myers Squibb (+0.3 percent), Celgene (-3.3 percent), Ford Motor (+0.3 percent), Hershey (-1.8 percent), Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide (-5.5 percent), Qualcomm (-6.7 percent) and United Continental (-2.4 percent).

Wal-Mart Stores dipped 0.8 percent as it announced it was replacing Bill Simon as head of its US division with Greg Foran, currently head of Walmart Asia.

Online real estate company Zillow vaulted 15.3 percent higher on a report it wants to buy rival Trulia. Trulia bolted up 32.4 percent.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.51 percent from 2.46 percent Wednesday, while the 30-year increased to 3.30 percent from 3.26 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.