* Cisco shares rise after Goldman adds to top list
* U.S. data supports modest economic growth
* Chinese data leaves door open for more stimulus
* Dow down 0.1 pct, S&P up 0.04 pct, Nasdaq up 0.3 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Aug 9 (Reuters) - The Standard & Poor's 500
extended its rally to a fifth day on Thursday, again eking out a
tiny gain as lingering expectations for economic stimulus from
central banks lent support to a market lacking new catalysts.
While the S&P 500 has chalked up three-month highs every day
this week, the index has climbed only 0.6 percent over the past
three sessions - an indication that investors aren't prepared to
make aggressive bets despite better-than-expected jobless claims
and U.S. trade data.
The Nasdaq outperformed the other two major U.S. stock
indexes, led by Cisco Systems Inc after Goldman Sachs
added the company to its conviction buy list and Piper Jaffray
upgraded it to "overweight." Cisco rose 3.2 percent to $17.70
and was the Dow's biggest percentage gainer.
Material stocks also advanced after James River Coal Co
said the market for power-generating coal was showing
signs of a recovery following massive industry-wide cutbacks in
production. The stock surged 13 percent to $2.52 while peer
company Arch Coal Inc jumped 7.1 percent to $7.42. An
S&P materials index rose 0.5 percent.
The three major U.S. stock indexes seesawed throughout the
morning, with the S&P 500 mostly hovering above 1,400 in light
trade as investors bet central banks would soon act to support a
global recovery that has shown signs of stalling.
"It's almost eerie how flat the market has been. But while
there's a risk of our becoming overbought, I don't see why we'd
see a decline of any magnitude until we hear what central banks
will do," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at
Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 10.45
points, or 0.08 percent, to 13,165.19 at the close. But the
Standard & Poor's 500 Index inched up 0.58 of a point, or
0.04 percent, to 1,402.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index
gained 7.39 points, or 0.25 percent, to close at 3,018.64.
Markets held on despite a raft of weak Chinese economic
data. Annual growth in factory output slowed to its lowest in
more than three years in July while annual consumer price
inflation hit a 30-month low.
"This news is disappointing, but it only emboldens investors
that we'll be rescued by central banks somewhere," said
Luschini, who helps oversee $54 billion in assets.
Data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for
jobless benefits fell last week while the U.S. trade deficit in
June was the smallest in 1-1/2 years, hopeful signs for the
Beauty products maker Elizabeth Arden forecast 2013
profit above estimates on stronger sales and its shares jumped
13 percent to $44.02.
Of the 445 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported
second-quarter earnings through Thursday morning, 68 percent
have reported earnings above analysts' expectations, in line
with the average over the last four quarters.
Shares of Robbins & Myers soared 27.4 percent to
$59.63 after National Oilwell Varco said it would buy
the company for $2.54 billion in cash. Varco shares added 0.8
percent to $76.98.
E*Trade Financial Corp gained 6.9 percent to $8.57
after it replaced its chief executive officer, Steven Freiberg,
and said its board had formed a committee to find a permanent
Volume was light, with about 5.41 billion shares traded on
the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and
Nasdaq, well below last year's daily average of 7.84 billion.
About 52.5 percent of companies traded on the New York Stock
Exchange closed higher, while 53 percent of Nasdaq-listed shares
gained for the day.