* Jobless claims lowest since 2006; home sales slide
* Caterpillar drags on Dow; Facebook at record on results
* Amazon shares fall after market's close; Baidu rallies
* Dow off 0.02 pct; S&P 500 up 0.05 pct; Nasdaq down 0.04
(Updates with results from Baidu after the bell)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, July 24 U.S. stocks finished a quiet
session mostly flat on Thursday as earnings painted a mixed
picture of the economy, though the S&P 500 set another record
The latest economic data failed to impress buyers. U.S.
claims for initial jobless benefits fell to a seasonally
adjusted 284,000, the lowest since mid-February 2006. New home
sales declined 8.1 percent in June, the biggest drop in almost a
year. The PHLX housing sector index lost 2.7 percent,
marking its biggest one-day drop since February.
Recent gains on Wall Street have been fueled 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 jumped 5.2 percent to $74.98 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
Caterpillar Inc raised its full-year outlook but
posted a decline in sales, pushing its stock down 3.1 percent to
$105.04. The Dow component is the world's largest maker of
"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 dipped 2.83 points
or 0.02 percent, to close at 17,083.80. The S&P 500
gained 0.97 of a point or 0.05 percent to end at 1,987.98, its
second record closing high in a row. The Nasdaq Composite
shed 1.59 points or 0.04 percent, to finish at 4,472.11.
At its record intraday high of 1,991.39, the S&P 500 was
just 0.4 percent below the 2,000 milestone.
Among the companies that reported results after the closing
bell, Amazon.com Inc shares fell 9.7 percent to $324
after the online retailer reported a second-quarter loss that
was wider than expected.
Visa Inc, the world's largest credit and debit card
company, reported earnings growth of 11 percent, but the Dow
component's stock fell 3.3 percent to $215.33 in extended-hours
trading. Starbucks Corp posted revenue that was
slightly higher than expected. The coffee chain's stock slipped
0.7 percent to $79.91 in after-hours trading.
Baidu Inc rose 6.4 percent to $217.35 in
extended-hours trading after China's biggest Internet search
company reported results that were much stronger than had been
During the regular session, stocks that made big moves after
earnings included Under Armour Inc - up 14.7 percent at
$69.55 after the sports apparel manufacturer and retailer
reported a sharp rise in revenue. Under Armour's stock hit an
all-time intraday high of $70.25 and was the S&P 500's biggest
The benchmark S&P 500's biggest decliner was homebuilder
D.R. Horton Inc, which tumbled 11.5 percent to $21.94
after the company reported a 23 percent slide in profits. The
results gave investors a reason to unload some homebuilders'
General Motors Co dropped 4.5 percent to $35.74 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.
Almost 51 percent of stocks listed on the New York Stock
Exchange ended the day lower, while 52 percent of Nasdaq-listed
shares ended in negative territory.
About 5.58 billion shares traded on all U.S. platforms,
according to BATS exchange data, compared with the month-to-date
average of 5.54 billion.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)