* Jobless claims lowest since 2006; home sales tumble
* Caterpillar weighs on Dow, Facebook hits record on results
* Ford beats expectations; recalls hurt GM
* Dow off 0.03 pct; S&P 500 up 0.03 pct; Nasdaq off 0.04 pct
(Updates to afternoon trading)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, July 24 U.S. stocks barely budged on
Thursday as corporate earnings painted a mixed picture of the
economy, though the S&P 500 eked out a record intraday high for
the third straight session.
The latest economic data also failed to entice buyers. While
jobless claims dropped to the lowest since mid-February 2006,
new home sales fell 8.1 percent in June, the biggest decline in
almost a year. The PHLX housing sector index slid 2.7
percent in its biggest one-day drop since February.
The U.S. stock market's recent gains have been driven mostly
by earnings, which have been strong this quarter. With 41
percent of S&P 500 companies having reported results so far, 68
percent have posted earnings that topped expectations, according
to Thomson Reuters data, above the long-term average of 63
percent. On the revenue side, 62.1 percent have beaten analysts'
forecasts, compared with the historical average of 61 percent.
Facebook Inc shares jumped 6.5 percent to $75.89 and
hit an intraday record high of $76.74 a day after the world's
No. 1 social network reported earnings and revenue that beat
On the downside, Caterpillar Inc raised its
full-year outlook but posted a decline in sales and its stock
slid 3.1 percent to $104.92. Caterpillar, a Dow component, is
the world's largest maker of earth-moving equipment.
"There's a tug of war in the market today between the
companies that did well and the companies that didn't.
Caterpillar was disappointing, but stocks remain reasonably
valued and the earnings season supports continued gains," said
Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 5.63 points or
0.03 percent, to 17,081. The S&P 500 gained 0.66 points
or 0.03 percent, to 1,987.67. The Nasdaq Composite
dropped 1.69 points or 0.04 percent, to 4,472.01.
At its record intraday high of 1,991.39, the S&P 500 was
just 0.4 percent below the 2,000 milestone.
Among other stocks that made big moves after earnings,
sports apparel manufacturer and retailer Under Armour Inc
surged 13.4 percent to $68.76 after the company reported that
quarterly revenue rose by more than a third. The stock hit an
all-time intraday high of $70.25. It was the S&P 500's biggest
The benchmark index's biggest decliner was D.R. Horton Inc
, the No.1 U.S. homebuilder, which tumbled 11.2 percent
to $22.03 after the company reported a 23 percent slide in
third-quarter profit. The results gave investors a reason to
unload some homebuilders' shares.
Ford Motor Co shares rose 0.7 percent to $17.90 after
the company's profit beat expectations. General
Motors Co shares dropped 4.2 percent to $35.83 after the
company reported a much lower second-quarter profit because of
numerous recalls and the expected cost of at least $400 million
for its victims' compensation fund.
Drugmakers Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly
both reported earnings that beat Wall Street's expectations,
helped by cost controls. Bristol-Myers shares edged up 0.3
percent to $49.47 and Eli Lilly inched up 0.1 percent to $64.30.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)