NEW YORK (AP) — Cisco Systems led the Dow Jones industrial average slightly higher Thursday after the technology company reported higher sales. Mixed corporate earnings and economic reports kept the major stock indexes flipping between slight gains and losses.
Shortly after noon, the Dow was up 12 points at 15,288. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up less than a point at 1,659.
The news on the economy Thursday wasn't encouraging. Applications for unemployment benefits rose last week, and manufacturing slowed in the mid-Atlantic region. The manufacturing report from the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve sent bond prices up in morning trading and turned stocks lower, but not for long.
"We've been seeing a lot of that this year," said Scott King, an investment adviser at Unified Trust Co. in Lexington, Ky. "The news isn't great, yet the market holds tight."
Cisco jumped 13 percent, or $2.68, to $23.87. Cisco turned in quarterly results late Wednesday that beat analysts' expectations, with the help of better revenue from the U.S. and emerging markets.
The networking equipment company sells its routers, switches, software and services to corporate customers and government agencies around the world. As a result, Cisco's performance is often considered a gauge of how the technology industry is doing.
The Nasdaq rose 8 points to 3,479, a gain of 0.2 percent.
Wal-Mart fell 2 percent, the biggest drop among the 30 Dow stocks. The world's largest retailer turned in weaker sales and a dim forecast for profits. The company blamed bad weather and delayed tax refunds for earnings and sales that fell short of what analysts had expected. Wal-Mart's stock lost $1.68 to $78.11.