The S&P 500 index rose 8.79 points to 4,367.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 25.35 points, or 0.1%, to 34,823.35. The Nasdaq composite gained 52.64 points, or 0.4%, to 14,684.60. All three indexes remain close to the all-time highs they set early last week.
Wall Street’s smallest companies lost ground. The Russell 2000 index fell 34.57 points, or 1.5%, to 2,199.48.
The Labor Department reported that unemployment claims rose last week to 419,000, the most in two months and more than economists were expecting. Economists characterized last week’s increase as most likely a blip caused by some one-time factors and partly a result of the inevitable bumpiness in the week-to-week data.
That said, investors have been nervous about how well the economy is recovering after the pandemic along with lingering concerns that the delta variant of COVID-19, which is spreading rapidly across the country, may cause businesses and cities to put restrictions into place yet again.
The 10-year Treasury note traded at a yield of 1.26% Thursday, down from 1.28% the day before. While the benchmark yield has recovered from its low yields earlier in the week, it continues to trade at relatively low levels given that the economy is in a recovery.
The lower yields weighed on banks, which can charge higher interest on loans when yields rise. JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America each fell 1.3%.
Big technology companies helped counter the dip from banks. Apple rose 1% and Microsoft rose 1.7%.
Homebuilders mostly fell after the National Association of Realtors said sales of previously occupied U.S. homes rose in June after a four-month pullback. The June data also showed the median U.S. home price hit a record high last month, reflecting an increase in sales of higher-end homes, while sales of properties under $150,000 declined.
The sharp rise in home prices, even with mortgage rates near historic lows, has stoked worries that many would-be buyers may be priced out of the market. Homebuilder Beazer Homes USA fell 2.9% and D.R. Horton slid 2%.
Company earnings reports are continuing to roll out. Texas Instruments fell 5.3% for the biggest drop in the S&P 500 after its results disappointed investors. The chip maker also gave a weak outlook for the second half of the year.
Union Pacific rose 1.1% after the railroad said its profits jumped 59% from a year earlier, helped by a 22% increase in cargo carried compared with a year earlier. The results also beat analysts’ expectations. Domino’s Pizza jumped 14.6% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after its results also surpassed estimates.
Intel was down 2.6% in after-market trading following the release of its quarterly results. Twitter also reported its results after the market closed. The social media portal was up 3.7% in extended trading.