NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. benchmark stock indices were little changed Thursday -- the S&P 500 slightly higher, the Dow Jones Industrial Average inching lower -- on a day packed with earnings reports.
The U.S. jobless claims report was a positive for markets after initial jobless claims for the week of July 19 fell by 19,000 to a smaller-than-expected 284,000, its lowest level since Feb. 18, 2006.
The Dow closed down 0.02% to 17,083.8. The S&P 500 gained 0.05% to 1,987.96. The Nasdaq slipped 0.04% to 4,472.11. U.S. stocks closed mixed Wednesday, with the S&P 500 logging its 71st closing all-time high for this bull market since the market bottom on March 9, 2009.
"The market continues to remind investors that the trend remains their friend, as it focuses on earnings growth while shrugging off global hostility concerns and the downward revision to second-quarter GDP growth estimates from above 3.5% to below 3% currently," wrote Sam Stovall, managing director of U.S. equity research at S&P Capital IQ.
Stovall noted that the market may be giving investors encouragement that modest growth will likely keep inflation in check and the Federal Reserve on hold as far as rates are concerned.
S&P Capital IQ estimated that second-quarter S&P 500 earnings growth should to come in at 7.3% year-over-year, with earnings per share of $28.89. That's up from its prior day estimate of 7% growth with EPS of $28.80.
Thursday was another busy day for corporate earnings. Social network Facebook (FB) was one of the heaviest traded stocks of the day after reporting sharply higher second-quarter earnings on increasing revenue from mobile advertising. Shares of Facebook surged 5.2% to $74.98.