Stocks Ended Mixed on Economic Data

U.S. stocks ended little changed on Thursday , with the S&P 500 index continuing its winning streak into a fifth session, as data showing an unexpected decline in jobless claims last week tempered concern about a worsening of Europe’s economy.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 10.45 points, or 0.08%, at 13,165.19. The S&P 500 rose 0.58 point to 1,402.80. The Nasdaq Composite added 7.39 points, or 0.25%, to 3,018.64.

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly fell last week, offering hope that some of last month’s improvement in job growth could be sustained and give the economy a lift. Other data on Thursday showed the deficit on the trade balance in June was the smallest in 1-1/2 years as the petroleum import bill dropped sharply.

Average rates on fixed mortgages rose for the second straight week, staying slightly above historic lows.  The rate on the 30-year loan jumped to 3.59 percent, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says. The rate on the 15-year mortgage increased to 2.84 percent.

Trading losses at Knight Capital Group Inc were about $270 million after taxes from the August 1 software glitch that sent the firm scrambling for a financial lifeline, Chief Executive Tom Joyce told clients in a letter.

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