New York - US stocks notched gains for a third straight day on 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, at 12,943.36.
The S&P 500 advanced 3.73 points to 1,376.51, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed, rising 23.30 points 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% 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% in June from May, instead of an expected rise.
IBM led the Dow higher, adding 3.8%, 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%. AmEX's quarterly revenue missed estimates; Bank of America had shed 4.9% on Wednesday after its earnings report.
Outside the Dow, Morgan Stanley plunged 5.3%. The investment bank posted quarterly financial results well below expectations.
On the Nasdaq, smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm climbed 4.3% after saying it was ramping up supply for a "strong December quarter."
Shares in eBay gained 8.6%. 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% after announcing a multi-year pharmacy network deal with Express Scripts, up 1.9%. The companies did not disclose the terms of the contract.
Walgreens's rival CVS Caremark dived 6.2%.
Wall Street stocks closed higher on Wednesday amid encouraging earnings reports. The Dow added 0.8%, the S&P 500 was up 0.7% and the Nasdaq rose 1.1%.
Bond prices fell. The 10-year Treasury yield increased to 1.51% from 1.48% on Wednesday, while the 30-year rose to 2.61 from 2.58%.
Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.