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Trader Michael Zicchinolfi works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, July 24, 2012. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
Trader Michael Zicchinolfi works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, July 24, 2012. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

The close: S&P 500 extends winning streak to five days Add to ...

U.S. stocks ended the day relatively unchanged on Thursday, while Canadian stocks moved higher, as investors digested upbeat initial jobless claims and a flurry of earnings reports.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,165.19, down 10.45 points or less than 0.1 per cent. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1402.80, up 0.58 point – extending its winning streak to five straight days. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 11,858.13, up 77.09 points or 0.7 per cent.

The moves follow the Labor Department’s weekly snapshot of initial jobless claims: They fell by 6,000, to 361,000 – which was considerably better than the 370,000 claims that economists had been expecting and provided some encouragement for the U.S. employment situation.

In Europe, major indexes showed little movement, even as the European Central Bank released a survey of economists showing that the economic contraction in the euro zone is likely to be sharper than originally expected this year. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1 per cent and Germany’s DAX index barely budged.

In Canadian earnings news, Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. rose 4.8 per cent after reporting that its net earnings rose more than 25 per cent.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. surged 6.2 per cent after reporting a 19 per cent drop in per-share quarterly earnings and announcing that it is cutting spending this year by 10 per cent – even as it expects oil production will grow this year.

Tim Hortons Inc. fell 2.8 per cent after it reported a 13 per cent gain in earnings and nearly a 12 per cent gain in sales. However, the company’s earnings were merely in line with analysts’ estimates.

Among U.S. stocks, Cisco Systems Inc. rose 3.2 per cent after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to its “conviction buy” list of recommendations.

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