FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014...
U.S. stocks closed little changed on Thursday, with the S&P 500 touching its record high, as investors considered mostly upbeat earnings from companies including Ford Motor and Facebook and mixed economic reports. "We have 70 to 72 percent meeting or beating on not just earnings but sales, so it's a very good quarter," Fantozzi added of second-quarter results from S&P 500 companies.
Facebook climbed to a record after the social network trounced estimates for quarterly profit and revenue; Ford shares rose after the auto manufacturer reported second-quarter results. Caterpillar shares fell after the maker of earth-moving machinery reported a second-quarter earnings beat, but fell short on revenue.
Thursday's economic reports included Commerce Department figures showing sales of new homes fell 8.1 percent in June.
"It's certainly not interest rates or affordability, but we have disappointing home sales for June," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities of data that had new-home sales hitting a less-than-expected 406,000 in June. A separate government report had jobless claims coming in at 284,000 last week, less than the 308,000 estimated by analysts. "The net is this number in improving; the four-week average went down by 7,000 to 302,000. That smooths out some of the summer volatility and is a significant positive," Hogan said.