S&P 500 Little Changed as Homebuilder, Tech Shares Gain

U.S. stocks were little changed as homebuilders and technology companies rallied on better-than- estimated earnings, helping the market recover from an early drop triggered by higher-than-forecast jobless claims.

PulteGroup Inc. rallied 6.2 percent after the homebuilder’s loss was less than forecast, while Citrix Systems Inc. and Xilinx Inc. jumped more than 6 percent to lead technology shares higher after reporting results. Exxon Mobil Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. retreated at least 1.5 percent after earnings missed estimates.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down less than 0.1 percent at 1,390.27 at 9:53 a.m. in New York after slipping as much as 0.3 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 23.31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 13,114.03.

“There’s just uncertainty in terms of which way we’re going,” said Michelle Gibley, director of international research at San Francisco-based Charles Schwab Corp. Her firm has $1.83 trillion in client assets. “We did get several months of better-than-expected surprises in economic data. Now, reality is setting in. Things are better than they were, but not maybe as bullish as people were expecting. The earnings season has been good, but the bar was set low.”

Stocks opened the session lower after the Labor Department reported that U.S. jobless claims were 388,000 last week, 13,000 more than the median economist estimate.

Equities rallied yesterday as Apple Inc.’s earnings almost doubled and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he’s prepared to do more to stimulate growth if needed. Profits have topped forecasts at about 76 percent of S&P 500 companies reporting since April 10.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael P. Regan in New York at mregan12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at nbaker7@bloomberg.net

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