The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose on Thursday after JPMorgan posted better-than-expected earnings and amid a flurry of positive news on the technology front.
The Dow dipped as shares of oil companies pulled back from a rally starting in early March. Investors remained cautious as they braced for a raft of earnings and outlooks expected to shed light on how the battered sector will fare amid lower oil and gas prices.
The world's top cell phone maker Nokia
The tech sector has been one of the leaders, said Henry Smith, chief investment officer at Haverford Trust in Philadelphia.
Your more cyclical, economically sensitive areas have been leading the way and that gives us further confidence in making the claim the economy has bottomed, and that markets are looking for improvement in the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> slipped 9.00 points, or 0.11 percent, to 8,020.62. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 1.59 points, or 0.19 percent, to 853.65. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 14.41 points, or 0.89 percent, at 1,641.21.
Aside from JPMorgan Chase & Co
Shares of credit card companies also took a beating following downbeat broker comments. American Express
Adding to the gloom about the consumer's overextended state, General Growth Properties Inc
A mixed batch of economic data also limited gains.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's survey of regional manufacturing showed a less drastic contraction, corroborating similar evidence from New York the previous day.
The housing sector also offered its share of disappointment. The Commerce Department said housing starts fell 10.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 510,000 units, the second lowest on record dating back to 1959.
(Additional reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by Jan Paschal)