* Jobless claims drop to five-year low
* Apple shares drop a day after results
* Netflix jumps over 40 percent after reporting profit
* Dow up 0.3 pct, S&P inches up 0.01 of a point, Nasdaq off
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The smallest of gains gave the
Standard & Poor's 500 its seventh straight winning day on
Thursday, but the index failed to hold above the 1,500 line,
restrained by Apple's worst day in more than four years.
Apple Inc slid 12.4 percent to $450.50 a day after
it posted revenue that missed Wall Street's forecast as iPhone
sales were poorer than expected.
The sharp drop wiped out nearly $60 billion in Apple's
market capitalization to less than $423 billion, leaving the
company vulnerable to losing its status as the most valuable
U.S. company to second-place ExxonMobil, at $416.5
The S&P 500, however, managed to hit its longest winning
streak since October 2006.
"The market has sent the message it is no longer driven by
the whims of Apple," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE
floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York.
The S&P 500 briefly traded above 1,500 for the first time
since Dec. 12, 2007, but failed to hold above it, indicating
that momentum is waning and a pullback is in the charts.
"If the market had a little bit more excitement to it,
momentum players would have jumped after it broke through 1,500.
Investors know the market is a little bit ahead of itself,"
Economic data helped buoy equities as U.S. factory activity
grew the most in nearly two years in January and new claims for
jobless benefits dropped to a five-year low last week, giving
surprisingly strong signals on the economy's pulse.
At the same time, Chinese manufacturing grew this month at
the fastest pace in about two years, while data suggesting
German growth picked up boosted hopes for a euro-zone recovery.
"PMI in Asia, Europe, and obviously, here in the United
States, is moving in the right direction, and that's stuff
people should be excited about," Polcari said.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46 points or
0.33 percent, to 13,825.33 at the close. The S&P 500
inched up just 0.01 of a point, or 0 percent, to finish at
1,494.82. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 23.29 points or
0.74 percent, to end at 3,130.38, with most of that loss on
The broader Russell 2000 index also hit a milestone
as it closed above 900 points for the first time.
Video streaming service Netflix Inc surprised Wall
Street with a quarterly profit after it added nearly 4 million
customers in the United States and abroad. Netflix shares surged
42.2 percent to $146.86, its biggest percentage jump ever.
Earnings have helped drive the stock market's recent rally.
Thomson Reuters data through early Thursday showed that of the
133 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 66.9
percent have exceeded expectations - above the 65 percent
average over the past four quarters.
About 6.8 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock
Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE MKT, below the daily average
during January 2012 of about 6.93 billion shares.
Roughly five issues rose for every four that fell on both
the NYSE and Nasdaq.