US stocks close mixed on Thursday, after the Federal Reserve’s decision to cut stimulus yesterday, as investors weighed economic data that included jobless claims and home sales.
The S&P 500 lost 0.1% to 1,809.60 at 4 p.m. in New York, trimming an earlier drop of 0.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 11.11 points, or 0.1%, to 16,179.08, extending an all-time high. About 6.4 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 4% higher than the three-month average.
After years of ongoing support, the reduction “must mean the Fed actually believes that the economy is finally able to stand on its own,” Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors said to Wall Street Journal. He is forecasting that the S&P 500 can end 2014 at 2100, or about 16% higher than Thursdays close.
Data from the Labor Department yesterday showed applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week to an almost nine-month high of 379,000. A separate report showed previously owned home sales declined for the third consecutive month in November to the lowest level of the year as rising mortgage rates and a limited supply of properties discouraged buyers. The Conference Board’s index of U.S. leading economic indicators, a gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months, increased 0.8% in November.
In corporate news, Facebook fell 0.9% after the company said it would offer 70 million shares in its first stock offering since the social networks 2012 initial public offering.
Target slid 2.2% after the retailer confirmed it was hit by extensive theft of its customers credit-card and debit-card data over Black Friday weekend. Over 40 million debit and credit cards may have been wrongfully accessed in recent weeks and that law enforcement is investigating the matter.
Oracle advanced 5.8% to $36.60. The largest maker of database software said revenue in the period that ends in February will climb as much as 6%, and profit excluding acquisition-related expenses, stock-based compensation and other items will be as much as 72 cents a share. Analysts had estimated sales growth of 4% and earnings of 70 cents.
AK Steel gained 15% after the steelmaker said late Wednesday that it expects to report a surprise adjusted profit in the fourth quarter.