NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were mixed on Thursday, seesawing between positive and negative territory during the session as strong economic data offset disappointing earnings reports from several companies.
A sharp drop after the open had pushed the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average below their 200-day moving averages, a key technical indicator of longer-term momentum, but both indexes pared losses to rise back above those levels.
At 3:16 PM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 37.37 points, or 0.16 percent, to 23,962.35, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 3.97 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,631.7 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 3.73 points, or 0.05 percent, to 7,097.16.
Shares of insurer American International Group Inc (AIG.N) and drug distributor Cardinal Health Inc (CAH.N) plunged after the companies reported quarterly results. AIG, down 6.2 percent, and Cardinal Health, down 19.6 percent, were among the biggest drags on the S&P 500.
On the other hand, U.S. economic data provided a more upbeat outlook. The number of Americans receiving unemployment aid fell to its lowest since 1973, and the U.S. trade deficit narrowed for the first time in seven months. Factory orders for March also rose.
While it is considered highly unlikely the U.S. delegation in Beijing will strike a breakthrough deal to fundamentally change China’s economic policies, a package of short-term Chinese measures could delay a U.S. decision to impose tariffs on about $50 billion worth of Chinese exports.
“Everything is looking good from an economic perspective,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer of Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte, North