* Jobless claims unexpectedly fall in latest week
* Barnes & Noble soars after TechCrunch report
* Tesla Motors and Groupon soar after results
* Indexes: Dow flat, S&P down 0.1 pct, Nasdaq flat
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, May 9 U.S. stocks edged lower on
Thursday despite stronger-than-expected data on the labor
market, with Wall Street coming off a sustained rally that took
the S&P 500 to record closing highs for five straight sessions.
Jobless claims unexpectedly fell in the latest week by 1,000
to 323,000, their lowest in more than five years. Analysts had
expected claims to jump to 335,000.
The data added to a positive tone set by Friday's payroll
report, which was much stronger than expected and suggested that
fears of slowing growth may be overdone. The S&P 500 has risen
every session since then, adding 3.2 percent over the period,
while the Dow has also set records.
The claims data "is more fuel to send shares higher," said
Todd Schoenberger, managing partner at LandColt Capital in New
York. "While we may get a pullback at these levels, that would
make for an excellent entry point for investors. There are no
major headwinds out there right now, and stocks should continue
their upward pattern."
The market's uptrend has been boosted by strong corporate
earnings and an accommodative monetary environment from the
Federal Reserve, which analysts say makes stocks cheaper than
other asset classes on a valuation basis. Investors have used
any market declines in 2013 as a buying opportunity.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 4.75
points, or 0.03 percent, at 15,100.37. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 1.43 points, or 0.09 percent, at 1,631.26.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.40 points, or 0.04
percent, at 3,411.86.
The S&P 500 has climbed 14.5 percent so far this year, while
the Dow has advanced 15.3 percent and the Nasdaq has gained 13
percent. Still, the market remains below overbought territory,
with the relative strength index on the S&P slightly below 70.
While moves have been slight this week - the S&P rose just
0.5 percent on its strongest day - the three major U.S. stock
indexes have ended sessions higher than where they began, an
indication that positive momentum will continue. Trading volumes
have been below average, however, which could indicate a lack of
Shares of Barnes & Noble Inc soared 25 percent to
$22.15, hitting a fresh 52-week high after web publication
TechCrunch reported that Microsoft Corp was considering
an offer to acquire all of Nook Media's digital assets for $1
Tesla Motors Inc jumped 25 percent to $69.57 a day
after posting adjusted earnings that were three times what
analysts were expecting as the company sold more cars than it
had initially forecast.
News Corp reported earnings late Wednesday that
beat expectations while revenue rose 14 percent. Rupert
Murdoch's media company also said it was on track to split off
its slow-growing publishing business by the end of June. Shares
rose 5.9 percent to $33.74.
Groupon Inc posted revenue growth of 7.5 percent in
the first quarter, more than analysts had expected. Shares
jumped 13 percent to $6.31.
With about 440 S&P 500 components having reported, earnings
have largely been better than expected this quarter, with the
majority of companies surpassing estimates. Still, most
companies have missed revenue expectations.