U.S. stocks rose modestly on Thursday on earnings, holding near 29-month highs, but technical gauges suggested near-term resistance to strong gains.
Technology stocks outperformed the broader market for a second day, led by gains in Netflix and Qualcomm. But disappointing results from blue-chips AT&T and Procter & Gamble kept the Dow's advance in check.
What's healthy is that companies that come out with good reports are being rewarded and those that are not are getting
punished, said Randall Warren, president at Warren Financial Service in Philadelphia.
The market is not viewing everything as being correlated, like it used to before.
Movie-rental company Netflix Inc
Dow components AT&T
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 15.59 points, or 0.13 percent, at 12,001.03. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 3.05 points, or 0.24 percent, at 1,299.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 18.08 points, or 0.66 percent, at 2,757.58.
The S&P 500 faces technical resistance near 1,300, an area where closing and session highs clustered during August 2008. Technical analysts also view 12,000 on the Dow as a possible sell trigger as the blue-chip average closes in on nine straight weeks of gains.
The S&P has risen 2 percent since the start of the earnings season and is up 23.7 percent since September 1. Various technical measures indicate the market may be overstretched.
Thomson Reuters data showed 71 percent of the S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far have beaten estimates.
Weekly initial jobless claims surged to the highest level since late October while factory orders fell unexpectedly in December, the government said.
(Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Kenneth Barry)