European markets are called to open flat this morning.
U.S. stocks churned to end slightly higher Thursday, as investors weighed three disappointing economic reports against a backdrop of ongoing support from the Federal Reserve.
The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) rose 45 points, or 0.4%.
American Express (AXP, Fortune 500), McDonald’ (MCD, Fortune 500) and Boeing (BA, Fortune 500) led the gains, but a 1.4% drop in shares of Intel (INTC, Fortune 500) weighed on the blue-chip index.
The S&P 500 (SPX) inched up 3 points, or 0.2%, but sinking shares of Big Lots (BIG, Fortune 500) weighed on the broad index. The big box discount retailer’ stock tumbled 10.5% after it said it was not up for sale, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) edged up 8 points, or 0.3%. Chinese Internet company Baidu (BIDU) and Dollar Tree (DLTR, Fortune 500) were among the best performers, but Sears Holdings (SHLD, Fortune 500) dragged on the tech-heavy index. Shares fell nearly 3% after the retailer announced a net loss of $170 million for the quarter. Sears blamed bad weather and the weak economy.
Stocks have been flipping between small gains and losses as investors weigh mixed economic reports.
While the weekly report on jobless claims came in better than expected, a sharp drop in manufacturing activity tempered the mood.
The Philadelphia Fed index, a regional reading, fell to 3.9 in May from 18.5 the prior month. That was the lowest level since October and much worse than economists were expecting.
Asian stocks advanced as metals and oil rebounded from a drop amid easing concern the global economic recovery will falter. The yen fell against 15 of 16 peers after the Bank of Japan voted to maintain monetary policy.
Events This Week
Friday: Chinese Internet company Dangdang (DANG), which is similar to Amazon.com and made its debut in the U.S. markets in December, will deliver first-quarter results before the opening bell.