By Medha Singh
(Reuters) - A surge in energy and industrial shares kept Wall Street's losses in check on Thursday, even as a rise in U.S. bond yields to a fresh seven-year high suggested more competition for equities.
Latest data showed the number of Americans on unemployment rolls last week fell to the lowest since 1973. Other data showed a pickup in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region this month, with manufacturers saying they were asking for higher prices for their products.
The combination of a tightening labor market and firming inflation supports expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next month.
"You have kind of a mixed bag of earnings numbers ... the economic data generally speaking was pretty good and that's leading to a little bit of mild buying in the market," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.
On the Russell 2000, Nolte said, "I think you're starting to see people come into that because it's the only index that has put in a new high and you've got some interest."
At 12:46 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 36.95 points, or 0.15 percent, at 24,731.98, the S&P 500 was up 0.28 points, or 0.01 percent, at 2,722.74 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 3.81 points, or 0.05 percent, at 7,394.48.
The three rate-sensitive sectors, including real-estate and utilities, were the biggest losers.
The market had opened in the red, weighed by a drop in Cisco and a rise in U.S. 10-year Treasury yields to a seven-year high.
Walmart slipped 1.6 percent, reversing premarket gains, after it said profit margins were under pressure, despite sales and earnings beating expectations.
J.C. Penney tumbled 11.1 percent after its same-store sales missed estimates and the company cut its full-year profit forecast.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.52-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for 1.97-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Anil D'Silva in Bengaluru)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)