Stocks turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday, with the major averages closing on opposite sides of the unchanged line for the second straight day. The Dow still managed to reach another new record closing high.
While the Dow rose 34.72 points or 0.2 percent to 20,810.32 and the S&P 500 inched up 0.99 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,363.81, the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell by 25.12 points or 0.4 percent to 5,835.51.
Traders seemed somewhat reluctant to make significant moves amid uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following recent strength.
The Dow benefited from strong gains by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Pfizer (PFE), and Verizon (VZ), which helped the blue chip index close higher for the tenth consecutive session.
On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing a modest increase in initial jobless claims in the week ended February 18th.
The report said initial jobless claims rose to 244,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 238,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 241,000 from the 239,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Among individual stocks, shares of Square (SQ) moved sharply higher after the mobile payments company reported a narrower than expected fourth quarter loss.
HP Inc. (HPQ) also posted a strong gain after the printer and PC maker reported first quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates.
On the other hand, shares of Hormel Foods (HRL) came under pressure after the food company reported weaker than expected first quarter earnings and lowered its full year guidance.