Dow Creeps Up for New Record

The Nasdaq and the S&P slip.
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Updated from 4:19 p.m. EDT

The New York market struggled for traction throughout Thursday's session and ultimately ended little changed, but the fact that the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

edged up gave the index a second straight record close.

A day after the Dow finished at an all-time high of 12,803.84, it added another 4.79 points, or 0.04%, to 12,808.63, marking its sixth consecutive close in positive territory. Seventeen of the Dow's 30 components finished in the black, led by a 2.2% gain in

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

.

The other major averages weren't as fortunate. The

S&P 500

lost 1.77 points, or 0.12%, at 1470.73, and the

Nasdaq

fell 5.15 points, or 0.21%, to 2505.35.

Breadth was negative for a third-straight session. About 2.81 billion shares changed hands on the

New York Stock Exchange

, with decliners beating advancers by a 5-to-3 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq reached 1.95 billion shares, with losers outpacing winners 2 to 1.

"The overall trend in the market does remain positive," said Michael Sheldon, chief investment strategist with Spencer Clarke LLC. "I'm a little concerned because many technical indicators are showing various signs that the market is due for a short-term pullback.

"Right now, investors aren't too concerned in the slowdown in corporate earnings and the housing sector, and instead they believe growth is likely to get stronger as the year goes on," he added.

Stocks in the U.S. languished in the red for much of the day following a horrible session in Asia's markets overnight. Tokyo's Nikkei gave up 1.7% to 17,372, Hong Kong's Hang Seng surrendered 2.3% to roughly 20,299, and China's CSI plummeted 4.7% to 3150.

Europe also saw losses, with London's FTSE down 0.1%, Frankfurt's Xetra DAX off 0.5% and the Paris Cac 40 decreasing 0.1%.

"The Asian markets are battered, and the assumption is that we should be too," said Art Hogan, chief market analyst with Jefferies. "However, there's been more good news than bad news on the earnings and economic data front. We've got a better picture than we thought we'd have."

Back on this side of the Atlantic,

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

slumped 3.7% to close at $33.19 even after it exceeded first-quarter earnings expectations and raised its forecast.

Similarly,

UnitedHealth

(UNH) - Get Report

beat estimates and guided in line for the second quarter and full year. Still, the stock fell $2.16, or 4%, to $52.05.

Many Dow components were also out with quarterly results.

Altria's

(MO) - Get Report

first-quarter adjusted profit fell short of Wall Street's expectations, while

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

posted first-quarter earnings that were in line with estimates. Altria shed 1% and ended at $69.40, while Merck tacked on 0.9% to $50.15.

Continental

(CAL) - Get Report

also topped analysts' targets, as did

Schering-Plough

(SGP)

,

Wyeth

(WYE)

and

Marriott

(MAR) - Get Report

.

Continental fell $2.59, or 5.9%, to $41.15. Schering-Plough rose $2.45, or 8.6%, to finish at $31. Wyeth dipped 67 cents, or 1.2%, to $55.66. Marriott tumbled $3.88, or 7.5%, to $47.99.

Elsewhere,

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

reported a profit that was in line with estimates, but revenue was on the light side. Profits were up at

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

, and

Merrill Lynch's

(MER)

first-quarter results blew past estimates.

Nokia added 78 cents, or 3.3%, to $24.65. Bank of America slid 91 cents, or 1.8%, to $50.91. Merrill Lynch ended lower by 55 cents, or 0.6%, at $90.11.

Among homebuilders,

Pulte Homes

(PHM) - Get Report

shed 1% to close at $27.68 after it lowered its first-quarter projections.

D.R. Horton

(DHI) - Get Report

slipped 0.3% to $22.98 after reporting a fiscal second-quarter profit that dropped 85% from a year ago and fell short of estimates.

Traders also contended with a number of economic releases. Before the open, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell by 4,000 last week to 339,000. The less-volatile four-week moving average increased by 5,250 to 328,750.

"We thought the Easter seasonals pointed to a sharp drop in claims today, so this is a real surprise," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with High Frequency Economics. "We are very reluctant to read too much into it, though, because it might just mean an even bigger drop in claims next week."

Elsewhere, the Conference Board said that the leading economic indicators rose 0.1% during March, compared with a revised 0.6% decline in February. Results matched economists' forecasts.

In the third report of the day, the Philadelphia

Federal Reserve

bank said its mid-Atlantic manufacturing index for April rose to a reading of 0.2. That was well below the expected reading of 3.0.

Turning to the bond market, Treasuries retreated. The 10-year note was off 3/32 in price, yielding 4.67%, and the 30-year bond was worse by 13/32, yielding 4.84%.

As for commodities, crude oil dropped $1.30 to close at $61.83 a barrel, and gold was down $5 to $688.30 an ounce.

After the close,

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter results that blew past Wall Street forecasts. On the opposite end, chipmaker

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

reported a loss that was much worse than expectations.

Also after the bell, Dow component

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

reported sharp surge in in first-quarter earnings.

Several more Dow components will headline the earnings docket on Friday.

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

,

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

,

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

and

Honeywell

(HON) - Get Report

are all due before the opening bell rings.