* Caterpillar, the Dow's worst performer, falls for second
* Facebook's best daily percentage gain boosts Nasdaq
* U.S. jobless claims rise modestly in latest week
* Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P 500 up 0.2 pct, Nasdaq up 0.7 pct
By Alison Griswold
NEW YORK, July 25 The Nasdaq got a lift from
Facebook shares on Thursday, but the Dow and the S&P 500
stumbled over mixed earnings and weakness in the cyclical
Facebook Inc scored its biggest daily percentage gain
ever a day after reporting a huge jump in mobile advertising
revenue. Shares of the online social network company soared 28.7
percent to a session high of $34.12 and topped the Nasdaq's list
of most actively traded names.
Disappointing earnings in the cyclical sector curbed the
gains in both the Dow and the S&P 500. Concerns about China's
growth also gave investors a reason for caution.
Caterpillar Inc, the world's largest maker of mining
and construction equipment, extended a slide that began on
Wednesday after the company cut its 2013 earnings forecast. The
stock - the Dow's worst performer - slid 2 percent to $81.75.
General Motors and Dow Chemical reported
profits that exceeded expectations, but that was not enough to
help the S&P 500 make a major push into positive territory. GM's
stock fell 0.7 percent to $36.88, after touching a two-year high
of $37.70. Dow Chemical rose 1.8 percent to $35.
"The market is anticipating a pickup in corporate profits,
looking to later parts of this year, but we're not seeing robust
earnings in the here and now," said Kevin Caron, market
strategist at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co in Florham Park, New Jersey.
"With stocks moving higher despite very slow earnings
growth, the important takeaway is that investors are more
comfortable with taking on more risks for the same amount of
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 12.00 points,
or 0.08 percent, at 15,554.24. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 3.93 points, or 0.23 percent, at 1,689.87. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 24.20 points, or 0.68
percent, at 3,603.80.
Stocks have advanced steadily this year. The S&P 500 has
climbed 18 percent in 2013 after hitting a number of record
closing highs along the way. For July, the benchmark index has
gained 4.9 percent.
With 47 percent of the S&P 500 companies having reported
earnings so far, about 68 percent have topped profit forecasts,
above the historical average of 63 percent. About 56 percent
have reported better-than-expected revenue, a rate that is below
the historical average.
TripAdvisor Inc shares surged 17.2 percent to
$71.68 a day after the company reported a jump in quarterly
profit and revenue from its travel website. The stock was the
S&P 500's second-biggest percentage gainer in late afternoon
Natural gas processor Oneok Inc leaped 24 percent to
$53.11. The stock was the S&P 500's best performer after the
company said it would separate its gas distribution business
into a standalone publicly traded company called ONE Gas Inc.
In the latest economic snapshot, initial claims for U.S.
jobless benefits rose to 343,000 in the latest week from 334,000
in the previous week, the Labor Department said. Economists were
looking for a read of 340,000.
New orders for durable goods rose 4.2 percent in June, far
stronger than the forecast for a growth rate of 1.3 percent.
Increasing worries about China's slowing growth also made
U.S. investors nervous. A major index of Chinese stocks
suffered its second straight loss on Thursday despite measures
from China's government to spur the economy, including help for
exports and railway investment. Data on Wednesday showed
manufacturing in China running at an 11-month low in July.