NEW YORK — US stocks notched gains for a third straight day Thursday as investors looked past disappointing economic data to a batch of positive corporate earnings reports.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a modest increase of 34.66 points, or 0.27 percent, at 12,943.36.
The S&P 500 advanced 3.73 points (0.27 percent) to 1,376.51, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed, rising 23.30 points (0.79 percent) to 2,965.90.
"Good earnings reports from some major technology companies probably balanced out the poor data reports," said Paul Ausick at 24/7WallSt.com.
The Labor Department reported 386,000 initial jobless claims were filed in the week ending July 14, an almost 10 percent increase from the prior week's upwardly revised figure and well above expectations of a rise to 365,000.
The National Association of Realtors reported sales of existing, or previously occupied, homes fell 5.4 percent in June from May, instead of an expected rise.
IBM led the Dow higher, adding 3.8 percent, after reporting better-than-expected quarterly profits and raising its full-year estimate.
American Express and Bank of America were the laggards, each down 3.6 percent. AmEX's quarterly revenue missed estimates; Bank of America had shed 4.9 percent Wednesday after its earnings report.
Outside the Dow, Morgan Stanley plunged 5.3 percent. The investment bank posted quarterly financial results well below expectations.
On the Nasdaq, smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm climbed 4.3 percent after saying it was ramping up supply for a "strong December quarter."
Shares in eBay gained 8.6 percent. The online auction house said its quarterly profit more than doubled due to strong showings by its Marketplaces and PayPal services.
Drugstore chain Walgreens soared 11.8 percent after announcing a multi-year pharmacy network deal with Express Scripts, up 1.9 percent. The companies did not disclose the terms of the contract.
Walgreens's rival CVS Caremark dived 6.2 percent.
Wall Street stocks closed higher Wednesday amid encouraging earnings reports. The Dow added 0.8 percent, the S&P 500 was up 0.7 percent and the Nasdaq rose 1.1 percent.
Bond prices fell. The 10-year Treasury yield increased to 1.51 percent from 1.48 percent Wednesday, while the 30-year rose to 2.61 from 2.58 percent.
Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.