Global stocks edge up, U.S. bonds slip on jobless data, earnings

Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:14pm EDT
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By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global stock markets inched higher while U.S. debt prices fell on Thursday following unexpectedly low U.S. weekly jobless claims and stronger-than-expected U.S. earnings from companies including Facebook.

The benchmark S&P 500 index closed at a record high for a second session in a row, buoyed by data showing initial jobless claims in the world's largest economy dropped to their lowest in more than eight years.

"The lower-than-expected U.S. initial jobless claims has made people focus on the improving labor market situation," said Ian Lyngen, senior government bond strategist, at CRT Capital in Stamford, Connecticut.

But data showing sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell by the biggest amount since July 2013 offset some of the positive news. The stock of homebuilder D.R. Horton, which also reported results, sank 11.5 percent to $21.94, while the PHLX Housing Index was down 2.7 percent.

The biggest boost to the S&P 500 came from Facebook, whose market value shot up to $190 billion. The stock rose 5.2 percent to $74.98 and hit an intraday record high of $76.74, a day after reporting a surge in mobile advertising revenue.

General Motors dropped 4.5 percent to $35.74 after reporting a much smaller-than-expected quarterly profit.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 2.83 points or 0.02 percent, to 17,083.8, while the S&P 500 gained 0.97 points or 0.05 percent, to 1,987.98, a record closing high. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.59 points or 0.04 percent, to 4,472.11.

MSCI's All-World Index was up 0.1 percent, while European stocks ended up 0.5 percent.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange July 21, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid