NEW YORK Stocks closed mixed Thursday after better-than-expected reports on home building and jobs.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 64 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 11,962. The Dow now is slightly higher for the week.
The S&P 500 rose 2, or 0.2 percent, to 1,267. The Nasdaq composite lost almost 8, or 0.3 percent, to 2,624.
The pace of new-home construction quickened last month, and the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits fell last week to 414,000, more of an improvement than economists expected. Weekly applications for unemployment have been more than 400,000 since April, a rate that suggests job growth still is slow.
Falling stocks outpaced rising ones by a small margin on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was 4.1 billion shares.
It was an up-and-down day on Wall Street. After the construction and jobless reports, the dollar and U.S. government bonds rose as investors moved money into less-risky investments.
The concerns about Greece pushed government bond prices higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.91 percent, the lowest since November, from 2.97 percent late Wednesday. Bond yields fall when prices rise.
Home Depot Inc. rose 1.9 percent, the second-most of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow after Hewlett-Packard Co., following the better-than-expected report about home construction and an upgrade by analysts. Kroger Co. rose 4.7 percent after the supermarket chains earnings rose as shoppers paid more for groceries and gas. And Winnebago Industries Inc. tumbled 21 percent after the motor-home company said profits fell nearly 80 percent in its last quarter.
Not all the economic news was positive. A survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found that manufacturing slowed in that region, one day after a similar report found that manufacturing was slowing in the New York area. A series of weaker economic indicators over the last two months have led some analysts to trim their expectations for the year.
Investors now are starting to expect negative economic news, said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners, an investment manager in New York. That dulls the impact of each downward sign, he said.
Theres still a feeling out there that even though economic data has been incrementally terrible, businesses are still cooking, Landesman said.
He also cautioned that the market could continue to slide until the next batch of corporate earnings reports, which start to come out in mid-July.
Stocks have fallen for six consecutive weeks because of rising concerns that the economy isnt as strong as previously thought. High gas prices and a recession in Japan after its earthquake and nuclear disaster have combined to slow business and consumer spending. The S&P index is down nearly 7 percent since hitting its high for the year on April 29.