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US: Dow gains modestly in muted day-after session


[NEW YORK] The Dow added modestly to its record on Thursday, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell a bit as the market digested the historic surge in the prior session.

A day after finishing above 20,000 points for the first time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 per cent to end at 20,100.91.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.1 per cent to 2,296.68 at the closing bell, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost a hair to end at 5,655.18.

"The market is probably taking a breather after yesterday," said Bill Lynch, director of investment at Hinsdale Associates.

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The sideways session came on a day of busy corporate earnings releases and ahead of Friday's report on US growth in the final quarter of 2015.

Ford dropped 3.3 per cent after reporting an US$800 million loss in the fourth quarter, which included the impact of US$200 million in one-time costs associated with spiking a plan to open a new plant in Mexico following pressure from President Donald Trump.

Ebay jumped 5.0 per cent as it projected 2017 revenues of between US$9.3 billion and US$9.5 billion, above the US$9.0 billion last year. Credit Suisse said in a note the results were good enough for "bulls to be optimistic."

Mattel plunged 17.7 per cent after reporting fourth-quarter earnings and sales well below analyst expectations. Chief executive Christopher Sinclair pointed to a "significant toy category slowdown in the holiday period" that resulted in elevated promotional activity.

Among other large companies reporting earnings, AT&T gained 1.0 per cent, Caterpillar lost 1.0 per cent, Dow Chemical rose 2.0 per cent, Southwest Airlines jumped 9.0 per cent and Whirlpool slumped 9.0 per cent.