NEW YORK – U.S. stocks fluctuated with the Dow Jones Industrial Average near a record as investors dissected earnings, while data showed higher jobless claims and consumer spending.
Avon Products Inc. tumbled 13 percent to lead losses in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index after earnings trailed analysts’ estimates by almost half. T-Mobile US Inc. rallied 8.5 percent after adding 1.3 million new monthly subscribers last quarter. Sprint Corp. surged 3.2 percent after meeting with banks to make debt arrangements for a bid for T-Mobile. Yelp Inc. gained 12 percent after raising its forecast for 2014 revenue.
The S&P 500 added 0.2 percent to 1,886.76 at 12:30 p.m. in New York. It swung between a gain of 0.3 percent on Thursday and loss of 0.3 percent. The Dow average lost 0.32 point to 16,580.52. The 30-stock equity gauge rose 0.3 percent on Wednesday, topping the previous record it reached on Dec. 31. Government data on employment is due Friday.
“The market has had a nice little run here, and you’ve got a number coming tomorrow, so there may be some hesitation,” Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Milwaukee-based RW Baird & Co., which oversees $110 billion, said in a phone interview. “As long as the Fed is going to remain friendly to the markets and rates are not going to go up, that’s going to be bullish for stocks.”
The S&P 500 posted a 0.6 percent gain in April for a third monthly advance, as better-than-estimated economic data and corporate results offset escalating tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine.
The index closed Wednesday within seven points of its all-time high from April 2. Its 8.2 percent recovery from a low of 1,741.89 on Feb. 3 has been led by a 14 percent rally in energy stocks and increases of 11 percent each in industries least tied to economic growth: utilities and home-product makers.