U.S. stocks ended near unchanged on Wednesday, with the Dow furthering its record climb, a day after its first trip above 18,000.
There are "not many people around and no impetus for a sell off," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
And, "claims dropped down to a level below 300,000 that is indicative of firming labor conditions," added Luschini of data released Wednesday that showed fewer Americans than forecast filed for unemployment benefits last week.
The Labor Department reported jobless claims fell by 9,000 to 280,000 last week, with the four-week moving average dropping to 290,250 last week from 298,750.
Separately, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported more Americans applied for mortgages last week, with refinance activity also rising.
Achillion Pharmaceuticals rose after Tuesday's 24 percent drop as biotechnology shares were hit by worries insurers and drug-benefit managers might try to restrict drug costs; Cal-Maine Foods fell after the egg producer reported quarterly earnings short of estimates.