* U.S. airlines suspend flights to Israel
* Inflation data keeps Fed on pace
* Indexes up: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.55 pct, Nasdaq 0.75 pct
(Updates prices, changes comment, adds S&P 500 at record)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, July 22 The S&P 500 hit a record high
on Tuesday as inflation data was seen keeping the Federal
Reserve in an equities-friendly tone, while hopes rose for an
easing of tensions in Ukraine.
Mixed earnings have been pouring in since Monday's closing
bell, allowing the positive bent to continue. U.S. consumer
prices rose in June as the cost of gasoline surged, but the
overall trend pointed to a slow build-up of inflation pressures
-allowing the Fed to continue to gradually take the foot off the
An index of homebuilder stocks rose 1.1 percent after
separate data showed U.S. home resales rose in June at their
fastest pace in eight months.
"It seems the market for today is taking a breather from
worrying about the geopolitical concerns," said Peter Cardillo,
chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
"The market is focusing on several good earnings reports and
of course economic data."
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 68.61 points or
0.4 percent, to 17,120.34, the S&P 500 gained 10.8 points
or 0.55 percent, to 1,984.43 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 33.13 points or 0.75 percent, to 4,457.84.
The S&P hit an intraday record high of 1,986.24.
Pro-Russian rebels agreed to hand over the black boxes from
the Malaysian plane shot down last week near the Ukraine-Russia
border and the Malaysian government negotiated the release of
the remains of nearly 300 victims.
The European Union threatened Russia with harsher sanctions
over Ukraine, but France's president signaled the disputed
delivery of a warship to Moscow would go ahead.
Traders are also keeping an eye on the Middle East as Israel
pounded targets across the Gaza Strip and said no ceasefire was
near. Top U.S. and U.N. diplomats pursued talks to stop fighting
that has claimed more than 600 lives, an overwhelming majority
from inside Gaza.
U.S. air carriers Delta, American Airlines
and United have halted flights to Israel to ensure
passenger safety as the turmoil in the region has intensified.
An airline stocks index was up 0.6 percent, roughly in
line with the S&P 500.
Verizon's shares edged 0.5 percent higher after its
revenue topped estimates and Chipotle Mexican Grill
jumped 12.3 percent to $662.64 a day after it reported a nearly
26 percent jump in quarterly profit.
United Technologies gave a rosy outlook but shares
fell 2 percent to $110.73 and Coca-Cola dropped 3 percent
to $41.11 after its sales missed estimates, weighed by stalling
growth in North America.
Travelers dropped 4.2 percent to $91.27 after hail
and wind storms in the United States increased catastrophe
Billionaire investor William Ackman's latest volley of
accusations against Herbalife fell flat on Wall Street,
with shares in the nutrition company soaring 15.6 percent to
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; additional reporting by Chuck
Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)