* Caterpillar, the Dow's biggest drag, falls for second day
* Facebook's best daily percentage gain boosts Nasdaq
* Amazon shares fall on results in extended-hours trading
* U.S. jobless claims rise modestly in latest week
* Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P 500 up 0.3 pct, Nasdaq up 0.7 pct
By Alison Griswold
NEW YORK, July 25 The Nasdaq climbed on
Thursday, led by a rally in Facebook a day after its earnings,
but the broader market's advance was modest after another round
of mixed earnings reports.
Facebook Inc shares scored their biggest daily
percentage gain ever - soaring 31.6 percent to a session high of
$34.88 a day after the online social network company reported a
huge jump in mobile advertising revenue. The stock closed at
$34.36, up 29.6 percent, and topped the Nasdaq's list of most
actively traded names.
Disappointing earnings in the cyclical sector limited the
gains in both the Dow and the S&P 500.
Caterpillar Inc was the biggest drag on the Dow,
falling 1.6 percent to $82.14. The stock slid for the second
day, extending a selloff that began on Wednesday after the
world's largest maker of mining and construction equipment cut
its 2013 earnings forecast.
General Motors and Dow Chemical reported
profits that exceeded expectations, but that was not enough to
help the S&P 500 make a big push into positive territory. GM's
stock fell 0.2 percent to $37.08, after touching a two-year high
of $37.70. Dow Chemical rose 1.8 percent to $34.99.
Still, the market managed to advance slightly, with nine of
the 10 S&P 500 industry sector indexes ending the day higher.
Material and utility shares were the best performers, after
being among the weakest in Wednesday's session.
"The trend in the market is upward unless there's some
active piece of bad news. No news is good news, in that sense,"
said Brian Gendreau, market strategist with Cetera Financial
Group in Gainesville, Florida.
"The earnings aren't really surprising anybody. The
corporate sector is strong, and the earnings sector is still
Shortly after the bell, Starbucks released its
third-quarter results and its stock jumped 6.8 percent in
extended-hours trading. Starbucks ended the regular session at
$68.17, up 2.3 percent.
Shares of Amazon.com Inc dropped 2.3 percent in
extended-hours trading after the world's largest Internet
retailer reported second-quarter earnings and gave a cautious
forecast for the third quarter. During regular trading, Amazon's
stock rose 1.5 percent to close at $303.40.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 13.37 points,
or 0.09 percent, to end at 15,555.61. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index added 4.31 points, or 0.26 percent, to 1,690.25.
The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 25.59 points, or 0.71
percent, to close at 3,605.19.
The major U.S. stock indexes have advanced steadily this
year. The S&P 500 has climbed 18.5 percent in 2013 after hitting
a number of record closing highs along the way. For July, the
benchmark index has added 5.2 percent.
With 47 percent of the S&P 500 companies having reported
earnings so far, about 68 percent have topped profit forecasts,
above the historical average of 63 percent. About 56 percent
have reported better-than-expected revenue, a rate that is below
the historical average.
TripAdvisor Inc shares vaulted 16.3 percent to
$71.10 a day after the company reported a jump in quarterly
profit and revenue from its travel website. The stock was the
S&P 500's second-biggest percentage gainer.
Natural gas processor Oneok Inc leaped 25.5 percent
to $53.77. The stock was the S&P 500's best performer on the day
after the company said it would separate its gas distribution
business into a standalone publicly traded company called ONE
On the flip side, homebuilders' shares tumbled and weighed
on the S&P 500 after Pulte Group and D.R. Horton
reported earnings. Shares of Pulte Group sank 10.3 percent to
$16.55, while D.R. Horton's dropped 8.6 percent to $19.38. An
index of housing stocks fell 2.5 percent.
In the latest economic snapshot, initial claims for U.S.
jobless benefits rose to 343,000 in the latest week from 334,000
in the previous week, the Labor Department said. Economists were
looking for a read of 340,000.
New orders for durable goods rose 4.2 percent in June, far
stronger than the forecast for a growth rate of 1.3 percent.
About 6.4 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, on
par with the daily average.
Advancers outnumbered decliners on the New York Stock
Exchange by a ratio of 17 to 13. On the Nasdaq, about two stocks
rose for every one that fell.