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US: Wall St little changed on mixed earnings reports

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[NEW YORK] US stock were little changed on Thursday, a day after the Dow and the S&P hit fresh record highs and as investors digested a mixed bag of earning reports as well as upbeat economic data.

Intel shares were down 3.6 per cent at US$34.40 after the chipmaker reported revenue growth slowed at its key data center business.

The stock was the biggest drag on the three major indexes, while fellow chipmaker Qualcomm was the biggest positive influence on the S&P and Nasdaq.

Qualcomm was up 6.9 per cent at US$59.68 after its quarterly results and forecast topped market estimates.

Another boost to the S&P and Nasdaq was Biogen, which was up 6.7 per cent at US$278.32 after its results beat expectations.

Also dragging on the Dow was Travelers and American Express, both of which fell after disappointing quarterly reports.

However, economic data was upbeat. A report showed jobless claims unexpectedly fell last week, hitting a three-month low as the labor market continues to gather momentum.

"The market has been on steroids with the Street becoming more confident about future earnings," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

At 9:38 am ET (1339 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 36.67 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 18,558.36.

The S&P 500 was down 1.68 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 2,171.34.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 5.05 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 5,094.98.

Eight of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were lower. However, all sectors were moving within a narrow range of losses of 0.3 per cent to gains of 0.4 per cent.

"Today's pause is the market looking for more good earnings and it wouldn't surprise me to see a small pullback as the market digests the recent gains," Mr Bakhos said.

The recent record-setting rally, which has pushed the S&P 500 up more than 6 per cent this year, has come despite concerns about global instability including Britain's recent vote to leave the European Union.

Still, analysts have gradually been cutting their estimate for the decline in second-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies.

Wall Street gained on Wednesday as Microsoft's strong results marked the latest sign that earnings season may be less dour than feared.

Mining equipment maker Joy Global jumped 17.3 per cent to US$27.61 after Japan's Komatsu agreed to buy the company for about US$3.7 billion.

AT&T, Chipotle, Visa and Starbucks among others are scheduled to report after the bell.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,386 to 1,215. On the Nasdaq, 1,128 issues rose and 1,043 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 12 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 30 new highs and six new lows.