* Dow, S&P 500 hovering near all-time highs
* Facebook off on plan to offer shares; results lift Oracle
* U.S. jobless claims near 9-month high; home resales slide
* Dow flat, S&P 500 down 0.1 pct, Nasdaq off 0.3 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Dec 19 The Dow and the S&P 500 barely
budged on Thursday as investors paused after a strong rally in
the previous session that drove both indexes to record closing
Wednesday's rally came after the Federal Reserve announced a
plan to trim its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion to $75
billion beginning in January. The statement was accompanied by a
dovish indication of rock-bottom interest rates for the
foreseeable future, a combination that gave the Dow and the S&P
500 their largest daily gains in two months.
Despite that, trading volume has been below average, with
many investors having locked in their gains for the year ahead
of the coming holidays.
"There's a lot of transparency in the market, but most of
the noise has been made," said Mark Martiak, senior wealth
strategist at Premier Wealth/First Allied Securities in New
York. "We should expect to continue seeing light volume and not
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 1.22 points,
or 0.01 percent, at 16,169.19. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was down 2.32 points, or 0.13 percent, at 1,808.33. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 12.70 points, or 0.31
percent, at 4,057.37.
The S&P 500 was only a few points away from its all-time high
of 1,813.55, while the Dow reached an all-time intraday high
earlier in the session.
Oracle jumped 6.6 percent to $36.87 a day after the
software maker reported earnings that beat expectations and gave
a bullish revenue outlook.
Facebook fell 0.9 percent to $55.07 after the social
network company announced the offering of 70 million shares,
including more than 41 million shares from Chief Executive
Officer Mark Zuckerberg worth about $2.3 billion. Zuckerberg's
sale, partly to pay a tax bill, will reduce his voting power to
56.1 percent from 58.8 percent.
Target Corp said hackers might have stolen data from
some 40 million credit and debit cards of shoppers who visited
its stores during the first three weeks of the holiday season in
the second-largest such breach reported by a U.S. retailer.
The stock slid 2.2 percent to $62.16.
Dish is considering a bid for T-Mobile US
next year, according to people close to the matter, in what
would be the satellite TV provider's second attempt at acquiring
a major wireless operator. Dish shares rose 1 percent to $55.85,
while T-Mobile gained 7.5 percent to $29.30.
Darden Restaurants said it would sell or spin off
its Red Lobster business, buckling under pressure from activist
investor Barington Capital Group after reporting another quarter
of sliding profits. Darden shares dropped 5.1 percent to $50.22.
In economic news, the number of Americans filing new claims
for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest in
nearly nine months while home resales fell to the lowest in
nearly a year. On the upside, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve
Bank's index of factory activity rose slightly in December.