US STOCKS-Wall St flat after mixed data, Cisco jumps

Last Updated: Thu, May 16, 2013 18:20 hrs

* Tesla to raise $830 mln, stock resumes surge

* U.S. jobless claims hit six-month high

* Wal-Mart falls after earnings miss

* Dow up 0.1 pct; S&P 500 off 0.01 pct; Nasdaq up 0.3 pct

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, May 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks barely budged on Thursday, with the Dow and S&P 500 hovering near record highs, as weak factory and labor market news was offset by data indicating inflation pressure remains tame despite aggressive monetary policy.

Cisco Systems led gains in both the Dow and Nasdaq Composite with a 12 percent surge after the network equipment maker posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and said current-quarter revenue could increase.

Cisco shares shot up 12.3 percent to $23.82 after hitting $24.24, the highest since November 2010.

The U.S. economy showed fresh signs of slower growth in the second quarter, with factory activity slipping in the mid-Atlantic region, while groundbreaking slumped at home construction sites. New claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly jumped last week.

However, soft underlying inflation - which could point to weak demand in the economy - also means the Federal Reserve has room to continue the aggressive monetary policy that has provided a main pillar for the U.S. stock market's advance.

The S&P 500 is up 16 percent so far this year and trading at historic highs.

"The data wasn't great, but it has recently surprised a little bit to the upside," said Paul Zemsky, head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management in New York.

"Inflation data was very good. It doesn't put any pressure on the Fed. Investors are confident the Fed will continue to stimulate the economy."

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15.79 points or 0.10 percent, to 15,291.48. The Standard & Poor's 500 dipped 0.23 of a point or 0.01 percent, to 1,658.55. The Nasdaq Composite added 9.04 points or 0.26 percent, to 3,480.66.

Earlier, the Dow reached a fresh all-time intraday high at 15,302.49.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc fell 2.1 percent to $78.22 and dragged on the Dow after the world's largest retailer posted a quarterly profit that missed Wall Street's expectations, with sales down 1.4 percent at U.S. stores open at least a year.

Tesla Motors Inc gained 8.8 percent to $92.28 after the electric carmaker said it aims to raise $830 million through a stock-and-debt offering that will be used to repay its U.S. Department of Energy loans with interest. The stock has surged more than 50 percent since the company reported earnings last week.

Shares of NetApp Inc hit their highest in a year after a Bloomberg report cited unidentified sources as saying activist investor Elliott Management took a "significant" stake in the company and intends to push for changes to the board and cash return strategy.

NetApp shares leaped 6.9 percent to $38.73 on more than twice the average daily volume of the past 25 days. Earlier, the shares touched an intraday 52-week high at $39.15.

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