Major Averages Close Mixed, Dow Reaches Record High

After an initial move to the upside, stocks turned mixed over the course of the trading session on Thursday. While the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 pulled back into negative territory, the Dow reached a new record closing high.

The Dow rose 85.54 points or 0.4 percent to 21,796.55, but the Nasdaq fell 40.56 points or 0.6 percent to 6,382.19 and the S&P 500 edged down 2.41 points or 0.1 percent to 2,475.42.

The early strength on Wall Street reflected a positive reaction to earnings news from some big-name companies, with Verizon (VZ) and Facebook (FB) moving notably higher.

However, traders took the opportunity to cash in on some of the recent strength in the markets, dragging the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 lower after they reached record intraday highs.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report before the start of trading showing a substantial increase in durable goods orders in the month of June.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders spiked by 6.5 percent in June after edging down by a revised 0.1 percent in May.

Economists had expected durable goods orders to surge up by 3.0 percent compared to the 1.1 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding a jump in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders edged up by 0.2 percent in June after climbing by 0.6 percent in May. Ex-transportation orders had been expected to rise by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Labor Department showed that initial jobless claims rose by more than expected in the week ended July 22nd.

The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 244,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 234,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 241,000.

Sector News

Airline stocks have moved sharply lower on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Airline Index down by 3.4 percent. With the drop, the index fell to its lowest closing level in over two months.

Southwest Airlines (LUV) posted a notable loss…

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