Strong bond auctions in Europe buoyed Wall Street stocks on Thursday, but weaker-than-expected data and a profit warning from energy major Chevron weighed on sentiment.
The S&P 500 held at five-month highs after rising in six of the year's first seven sessions. It closed at 1,292.48 on Wednesday and faced technical resistance near the 1,300 level.
Energy stocks weighed on the S&P 500 after Chevron Corp
Gains were also capped after U.S. data showed initial claims for jobless benefits hit a six-week high and retail sales rose at the weakest pace in seven months in December.
This is a rally that was built on the notion that things were getting better and with these kinds of numbers, it makes you wonder, said Joe Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading LLC in Chatham, New Jersey.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 5.79 points, or 0.05 percent, at 12,443.66. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 0.50 points, or 0.04 percent, at 1,292.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dipped 0.31 points, or 0.01 percent, at 2,710.45.
Italian and Spanish two-year government note yields fell sharply as the debt auctions were taken as an encouraging sign for their hefty funding programs this year.
The European auctions went well, yields are down in Italy and Spain, and that is giving the market a lift here, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
Sears Holdings Corp
Wynn Resorts Ltd
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; additional reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)