Stocks edged higher on Thursday after Greece reached a deal to secure a financial bailout, but investors took a wait-and-see attitude in a market that has become extended after weeks of gains.
With the Dow near its highest since 2008, market participants expressed caution about Europe and awaited further details and progress on Greece's efforts to deal with its debt.
Tech shares, led by Apple Inc
Leaders from major Greek parties agreed on reforms and austerity measures needed in exchange for a new bailout package to avoid a chaotic default.
There's some optimism that Greece has made it this far, but the reaction is muted because we've seen this before and there's still a lot of caution about Europe, said Brian Battle, vice president of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago.
Euro zone officials say the full package must be agreed with Greece and approved by the EU, IMF and European Central Bank by February 15, so legal paperwork can be completed in time to avoid a chaotic default that could threaten the global economic recovery.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 30.09 points, or 0.23 percent, at 12,914.04. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 3.86 points, or 0.29 percent, at 1,353.82. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 12.43 points, or 0.43 percent, at 2,928.29.
In a measure of how extended the market has become, well over 75 percent of S&P 500 stocks are trading above their 26-week moving average. Nearly six weeks of back-to-back gains have left the index up 7 percent this year.
At these levels all the good news is priced into markets, Battle said. We'd have to have something substantially good for us to get another leg up from here.
Providing support to the market was a report showing jobless claims unexpectedly fell last week, underscoring a firming in the labor market. That followed Friday's report of a better-than-expected rise in the number of jobs created in January.
Apple's stock rose to an all-time high. Brokerages Canaccord Genuity said its checks indicated very strong iPhone 4S sales and increased its price target to $665. Website AllThingsD said Apple would introduce its latest iPad tablet version next month.
Shares of Apple surged 3.6 percent to $493.77, hitting an all-time high of $496.75 earlier. The S&P information technology sector <.GSPT> rose 1.1 percent as the day's best-performing group.
But Cisco Systems Inc
Diamond Foods Inc
(Reporting By Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Kenneth Barry)