Updated from 3:08 p.m. EST
U.S. stocks refrained from making any big moves Thursday as Wall Street cheered a better-than-expected report on initial jobless claims but fretted over concerns about terrorism and poor earnings from a big tech company.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
climbed 48.78 points, or 0.5%, to 9872.39, while the
was off 2.60 points, or 0.1%, to 1900.59. The
was up a point to 1142.25.
The market was rattled early by news of an airport fire in northwestern Texas and a train derailment north of Detroit. On the corporate front,
posted disappointing quarterly earnings after the close Wednesday. Applied Materials lost $1.62, or 4%, to $39.09.
Buoying stocks was a Labor Department report showing that jobless claims unexpectedly fell by 8,000 last week.
The price of oil continued to be a major story Thursday as output disputes broke out among several of the world's top producers. The Saudi oil minister said in Vienna that the world crude market is in "crisis mode," in which sluggish demand is combining with overproduction to depress prices. Brent crude for December settlement was off another 4% in London after tumbling Wednesday.
In Afghanistan, eight foreign aid workers were removed by the U.S. military after spending three months imprisoned by the Taliban. With Kabul now under the control of the Northern Alliance, U.S. special forces units were reportedly stepping up their search for Osama bin Laden.
Overseas exchanges were mixed, with London's FTSE little changed at 5238 and Germany's Xetra Dax gaining 1% to 5006. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed up 4% at 10,490, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 2.6% to end the session at 11,239.
In other news,
suspended its dividend and said it's trying to sell $3 billion of credit card receivables. The company, which has been struggling with rising delinquencies, also said its previous earnings guidance for the fourth quarter and 2002 isn't reliable. Providian traded down 76 cents, or 20.7%, to $2.92.
One of Europe's biggest electricity companies,
, said third-quarter profits rose 79% to $662 million in the third quarter, boosted by cost cuts and acquisitions. The company's shares were up 3.9% to $50.63.
An already big bond deal got larger Wednesday as
doubled the size of a planned issue to $10 billion amid strong demand. AT&T gained 54 cents, or 3.3%, to $16.94.
Around 4 p.m. EST, the 10-year Treasury note was losing 1 29/32 to 101 23/32, yielding 4.78%.