U.S. stocks closed near unchanged on Thursday, with the Dow rising to a record, as investors sorted through economic data that sent differing signals on the economy.
"There are some cross currents in today's numbers. They point to an economy that is recovering, but at a modest pace. Overall we had kind of a mixed bag," said Paul Mangus, head of equity strategy and research for Wells Fargo Private Bank.
Wall Street began Thursday's session in retreat as existing home sales fell to their lowest level in nearly a year and new claims for jobless benefits climbed last week to a near nine-month high. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's index of factory activity climbed a bit this month and an index of leading economic indicators rose 0.8 percent last month.
Facebook declined after the social-networking company said founder Mark Zuckerberg would sell 41.4 million shares worth about $2.3 billion as part of an offering of 70 million shares. Target shares fell after the discount retailer said about 40 million credit and debit card accounts used by its customers may have been impacted by a data breach. ConAgra Foods rallied after the producer of packaged food reported fiscal second-quarter revenue that beat estimates.