Iran sanctions 15 U.S. firms, citing human rights and Israel ties
DUBAI, March 26 Iran has imposed sanctions on 15 U.S. companies for alleged human rights violations and cooperating with Israel, the state news agency IRNA reported on Sunday.
* Initial jobless claims fall in latest week
* Philly Fed tops expectations
* BlackBerry jumps after earnings
* Indexes off: Dow 0.03, S&P 0.05 pct, Nasdaq 0.15 pct (Updates to open, adds quote)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, June 19 U.S. stocks were little changed on Thursday, after four straight days of gains sent the S&P 500 to a fresh record high, as economic data was not enough to entice investors to push equities higher.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000, slightly below the 314,000 forecast.
The benchmark S&P index is up 1.4 percent over the past four sessions. It notched its biggest advance in nearly a month on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve hinted at a slightly faster pace of interest-rate increases starting next year, but suggested rates in the long run would be lower than it had indicated previously.
"Data is pretty good but it's one of those things we have been stuck in for a while, the data is going to continue to muddle along," said Keith Bliss, senior vice-president at Cuttone & Co in New York.
"Economic data is not going to be the catalyst or driver to keep this market rallying to stratospheric heights because we know it's going to be mediocre."
Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region grew at a faster pace than expected in June, as the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index jumped to 17.8 from 15.4 in May, above the forecast for a reading of 14.
In addition, the private-sector Conference Board said on Thursday its Leading Economic Index rose 0.5 percent last month after a downwardly revised 0.3 percent increase in April, but slightly below the 0.6 percent estimate.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 5.76 points or 0.03 percent, to 16,900.86, the S&P 500 lost 0.89 points or 0.05 percent, to 1,956.09 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 6.53 points or 0.15 percent, to 4,356.30.
U.S.-listed shares of BlackBerry jumped 13.5 percent to $9.41 after the company's first-quarter loss was smaller than expected.
Kroger Co, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its forecasts for full-year adjusted profit and same-store sales growth, helped by its acquisition of grocer Harris Teeter earlier this year. Shares of the biggest U.S. supermarket operator rose 5.2 percent to $49.71 as the best performer on the S&P 500.
Measurement Specialties Inc climbed 10.4 percent to $86.11 after the company agreed to be acquired by Swiss-based electronics company TE Connectivity for about $1.7 billion, including debt. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)
LONDON, March 26 British interior minister Amber Rudd said on Sunday end-to-end encryption of messages offered by services like Whatsapp are "completely unacceptable" and there should be no "secret place for terrorists to communicate".