* Jobless claims unexpectedly fall in latest week
* Barnes & Noble leaps after TechCrunch reports Microsoft
* Tesla Motors surges after results
* Dow off 0.2 pct; S&P down 0.4 pct; Nasdaq off 0.1 pct
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, May 9 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 broke a five-day
string of record closing highs on Thursday, ending a fairly
volatile session lower as recent momentum lost steam and Apple
The Dow also broke its two-day string of all-time closing
highs, but still ended above 15,000.
The length of the recent rally has surprised many investors.
Analysts said it's difficult for the upward momentum to continue
without further catalysts, such as first-quarter earnings
reports, which are nearing an end.
Volume has been weak for much of this year's rally. In fact,
volume has been below average all week.
"This market is so stretched to the upside that if we get
some little wiggle somewhere, I can easily see us getting back
down to 1,580" on the S&P 500, said Stephen Massocca, managing
director of Wedbush Equity Management LLC in San Francisco.
Apple, down 0.9 percent at $456.77, led the
declines of both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, while International
Business Machines, down 0.8 percent at $203.24, was the
biggest drag on the Dow.
The day's economic data was mostly positive, but failed to
give much of a boost to stocks. The number of Americans filing
new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the
lowest level in almost 5-1/2 years - contrary to economists'
forecast of a gain - U.S. Labor Department data showed.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 22.50 points,
or 0.15 percent, to end at 15,082.62. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index declined 6.02 points, or 0.37 percent, to finish at
1,626.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 4.10
points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 3,409.17.
Despite the declines for the day, both the Dow and the S&P
500 reached all-time intraday highs - with the Dow touching
15,144.83 and the S&P 500 reaching 1,635.01.
The market, which had been down slightly from the opening
bell through midday, reversed course and began to edge higher in
early afternoon. Stocks lost steam later in the session.
Limiting losses on the S&P 500, News Corp shares
gained 4.5 percent to $33.29. It reported earnings late
Wednesday that beat expectations while revenue rose 14 percent.
Rupert Murdoch's media company also said it was on track to
split off its slow-growing publishing business by the end of
Among other top advancers, Tesla Motors Inc surged
24.4 percent to $69.40 a day after posting adjusted earnings
that were three times what analysts were expecting as the
company sold more cars than it had initially forecast.
Shares of Barnes & Noble Inc shot up 24.3 percent to
$22.08, after hitting a fresh 52-week high of $22.25. The
stock's sharp advance followed a report by web publication
TechCrunch that Microsoft Corp was considering an offer
to acquire all of Nook Media's digital assets for $1 billion.
Microsoft shares slipped 1 percent to $32.66.
Volume was roughly 6.3 billion shares traded on the New York
Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, slightly below the
average daily closing volume of about 6.4 billion this year.
Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a ratio of
nearly 2 to 1 and on the Nasdaq, about three stocks fell for
every two that rose.