* S&P 500 closes at record high for 2nd day; MSCI world
* Facebook shares hit record high, market value climbs
* Russian debt insurance costs rise on EU sanctions
* U.S. homebuilders down after housing data
(Updates with U.S. market closing prices)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, July 24 Global stock markets inched
higher while U.S. debt prices fell on Thursday following
unexpectedly low U.S. weekly jobless claims and
stronger-than-expected U.S. earnings from companies including
The benchmark S&P 500 index closed at a record high for a
second session in a row, buoyed by data showing initial jobless
claims in the world's largest economy dropped to their lowest in
more than eight years.
"The lower-than-expected U.S. initial jobless claims has
made people focus on the improving labor market situation," said
Ian Lyngen, senior government bond strategist, at CRT Capital in
But data showing sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell
by the biggest amount since July 2013 offset some of the
positive news. The stock of homebuilder D.R. Horton,
which also reported results, sank 11.5 percent to $21.94, while
the PHLX Housing Index was down 2.7 percent.
The biggest boost to the S&P 500 came from Facebook, whose
market value shot up to $190 billion. The stock
rose 5.2 percent to $74.98 and hit an intraday record high of
$76.74, a day after reporting a surge in mobile advertising
General Motors dropped 4.5 percent to $35.74 after
reporting a much smaller-than-expected quarterly profit.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 2.83 points or
0.02 percent, to 17,083.8, while the S&P 500 gained 0.97
points or 0.05 percent, to 1,987.98, a record closing high. The
Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.59 points or 0.04 percent, to
MSCI's All-World Index was up 0.1 percent,
while European stocks ended up 0.5 percent.
Other data showed the euro zone's private sector expanded at
the fastest rate in three months in July.
The data helped the euro hold above an eight-month low
versus the U.S. dollar. The euro was at an eight-month low of
$1.3448 on the EBS trading system before rebounding to a session
high of $1.34855 after the data. The single currency
was last $1.3463, little changed from Wednesday's U.S. close.
Russian debt insurance costs rose after European Union
leaders proposed sanctions on Russian banks which are
majority-owned by the government. Those measures were proposed
after a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed over Ukraine last
week, killing 298, possibly by a missile furnished by Russia.
Ten-year U.S. Treasuries were down 13/32 in
price to yield 2.510 percent. The yield hit a peak of 2.518
percent, the highest since July 18.
Crude oil prices ran into renewed selling on a weaker demand
outlook in Europe. Brent crude for September delivery
fell 96 cents to $107.07 a barrel. U.S. crude lost $1.05
to settle at $102.07.
Gold hit its lowest level in a month, with spot gold
last down 1.1 percent at $1,289.6 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by Carolyn Cohn, Marc Jones and Anirban
Nag in London, Wayne Cole in Sydney, Richard Leong, Rodrigo
Campos and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York; Editing by
James Dalgleish, Bernadette Baum, Nick Zieminski and Diane