Stocks closed at another 2011 high Thursday despite modest U.S. economic growth in the first quarter. The economy grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate from January to March. That's the weakest rate since last spring. Higher oil prices cut into consumer spending, and bad weather slowed down construction projects.
Stocks rose modestly as investors bet that the economy would grow at a faster annual rate once gasoline prices stabilized.
The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 4.82 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1360.48. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 72.35 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,763.31. The Nasdaq composite gained 2.65 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2872.53.
The Russell 2000 rose to another record, a day after reaching the previous one. The index of small companies rose 3.24 points, or 0.4 percent, to 861.55.
Corporate earnings were mixed. Procter & Gamble rose 48 cents to $64.50 after the maker of Tide detergent and Pampers diapers reported higher earnings but cut its forecast for the year due to rising costs for raw materials.
Sprint Nextel gained 32 cents to $5.11. The company added twice as many wireless subscribers in the first quarter as analysts had expected.
Viacom advanced $1.78 to $50.63. The owner of MTV and Paramount Pictures reported that its income grew 53 percent thanks to popular shows such as "Jersey Shore" and an improved advertising market.
ExxonMobil fell 44 cents to $87.34 even though the oil giant reported its best quarterly earnings since 2008. The world's largest publicly traded company earned $10.65 billion in the first quarter, up from $6.3 billion in the same period last year.
Steve Quirk, trader at TD Ameritrade, says investors have come to expect strong earnings from Exxon, so even a solid quarter doesn't necessarily lift its stock price. "The anticipation is so high right now," he said.
More people applied for unemployment benefits for the first time last week. The increase, the second in three weeks, suggests that the job market remains sluggish.
The weaker economic reports helped push bond prices higher and yields lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.32 percent from 3.35 percent late Wednesday.
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