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S&P 500 edges to record as investors weigh data, Iraq

The S&P 500 Thursday edged to a new record as investors weighed solid economic data with ongoing violence in Iraq that pushed oil prices to a new nine-month high.

NEW YORK: The S&P 500 on Thursday edged to a new record as investors weighed solid economic data with ongoing violence in Iraq that pushed oil prices to a new nine-month high.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 2.50 points (0.13 per cent) to 1,959.48, its second consecutive record finish.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 14.84 points (0.09 per cent) to 16,921.46, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 3.51 points (0.08 per cent) to 4,359.33.

The Labor Department reported initial jobless claims fell by 6,000 last week, while the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators rose 0.5 per cent in May.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama offered up to 300 US advisors to train Iraqi forces. Iraqi forces regained control of the nation's largest oil refinery, but rebels remain in control of swathes of the country.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital, said Thursday's trade showed a "reflecting and pausing market" following recent gains in equities.

Dow component General Electric sweetened its offer to buy energy assets from Alstom, proposing a number of joint ventures and the sale of its profitable rail signaling unit to the French company. GE shares rose 1.0 per cent.

Supermarket company Kroger jumped 5.1 per cent as it raised its profit forecast for 2014 from $3.14-$3.25 per share to $3.19-$3.27 per share.

Red Hat, an open-source software developer, rose 3.8 per cent after reporting first-quarter revenue rose 17 per cent from the year-ago period. The company said it counts 94 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies as customers.

Handbag and accessory-maker Coach tumbled 8.9 per cent following a downcast investor day. "The bottom line is that a turnaround here is going to take a long time," Jefferies said of Coach. "Competition is fiercer than ever."

Biotech company Celgene rose 4.5 per cent after announcing shareholders approved a stock split.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.62 per cent from 2.61 per cent on Wednesday, while the 30-year increased to 3.46 per cent from 3.42 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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