* Philly Fed factory activity data index surges in Sept
* S&P 500 adds to record gains after Fed's stimulus decision
* Indexes: Dow flat, S&P up 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.1 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Sept 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little
changed on Thursday as investors took a breather after a rally
that took the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average to
record levels in the wake of a surprise decision by the Federal
Reserve to maintain its stimulus.
Major U.S. stock indexes seesawed between modest gains and
losses in morning trading after Wednesday's rally that was
sparked by the U.S. Fed's unexpected decision to keep its
massive stimulus efforts intact. The Fed will continue, for now,
with its $85-billion monthly bond purchases which have propped
up economic growth and equity markets for much of the year.
"After the substantial move yesterday and people digesting
the fact that tapering is put on hold, I don't expect a big move
today. Nevertheless, we are seeing tech and small caps leading
which is definitely positive for the market," said Ryan Detrick,
senior analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in
"Now that we have one worry out of the way, I think the next
big catalyst to move the market is the earnings season which is
not too far away."
In economic news, factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic
region increased by the most in more than two years in September
and firms' optimism about the future hit a 10-year high.
A separate report showed the number of Americans filing new
claims for jobless benefits rose last week, though it was
difficult to get a clear reading on the labor market's health
because two states appeared to be working through a backlog of
News that the Fed would delay winding down its stimulus
until it had more evidence of solid economic growth boosted
global equity markets on Thursday, especially emerging markets
as investors returned to riskier assets.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 5.76
points, or 0.04 percent, at 15,671.18. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 1.19 points, or 0.07 percent, at 1,726.71.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4.45 points, or 0.12
percent, at 3,788.09.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, the biggest U.S. bank, will pay
approximately $920 million in penalties to regulators in two
countries to settle some of its potential liabilities from its
$6.2-billion "London Whale" derivatives loss last year,
according to terms made public on Thursday. JPMorgan shares were
down 1 percent at $52.88.
Rite Aid Corp, the third-largest U.S. drugstore
chain, raised its profit forecast for the current year after
reporting a fourth straight quarterly profit. The stock jumped
15 percent to $4.26.