US STOCKS-Dow gains on Boeing strength, S&P dips after data

* Philadelphia Fed index rises, but new orders decelerate

* CPI unchanged in February; initial jobless claims fall

* Nike, GameStop rally after reporting results

* Dow up 0.3 pct, S&P down 0.2 pct, Nasdaq up 0.1 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to early afternoon)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, March 18 (BestGrowthStock) – The Dow industrials rose on
Thursday on Boeing’s strength, while the S&P 500 slipped after a
round of economic data and corporate results.

Earlier in the session, the Dow climbed as high as 10,773.88 —
its highest in 17 months.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s index showed factory
activity expanded more than expected in March, although new orders
fell. Earlier, the government said consumer prices were flat in
February, backing up the Federal Reserve’s commitment to keep its
benchmark interest rate ultra low for a while. A separate report
showed a dip in new claims for jobless benefits in the latest week.

For details on the data, see [ID:nN18215395]

“The data are a net positive since it reinforced the idea
that the Fed won’t be raising rates soon,” said Tom Nyheim, portfolio
manager of Christiana Bank & Trust in Greenville, Delaware.

“What’s limiting us right now is the fact that we’ve just
been up so much lately.”

Boeing (BA.N: ), up 1.7 percent at $70.54, gave the Dow its
biggest boost. Boeing, on track for its highest close since June
2008, is the Dow’s best-performing stock so far this year. Earlier in
the session, Boeing hit a 52-week intraday high at $70.62.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) gained 32.12 points, or
0.30 percent, to 10,765.79. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (.SPX: )
slipped 1.77 points, or 0.15 percent, to 1,164.44. The Nasdaq
Composite Index (.IXIC: ) rose 1.24 points, or 0.05 percent, to
2,390.33.

Both Nike Inc (NKE.N: ) and GameStop (GME.N: ) rallied after
reporting results. Nike’s stock climbed 5.3 percent to $74.63, a day
after the largest global sports gear maker reported a third-quarter
profit that beat expectations. GameStop shares jumped 7.7 percent to
$21.39 after the video-game retailer forecast full-year sales growth
of 4 percent to 6 percent. [ID:nN17163859] and [ID:nN18218086]

FedEx Corp (FDX.N: ), the world’s largest package delivery company
and an economic bellwether, posted a sharply higher quarterly profit
that beat Wall Street’s estimate. Some analysts, though, had said
expectations called for even stronger results. [ID:nN1799848]

Shares of FedEx gained 0.5 percent to $90.27. The Dow Jones
Transportation Average (.DJT: ), which includes FedEx, rose 0.4
percent.

But Intel Corp (INTC.O: ) fell 0.4 percent to $22.16, dragging on
the Nasdaq. Macquarie Equities Research started coverage of the chip
maker with a “neutral” rating, expecting utilization rates for the
semiconductor sector to peak in the next one or two quarters.
[ID:nSGE62H0HF]

Another pocket of strength came from the healthcare sector, with
health insurers’ shares gaining as investors welcomed clarity on the
timing for a vote on the healthcare reform bill. U.S. House Majority
Leader Steny Hoyer said momentum was growing for the legislation
despite solid Republican opposition. The U.S. House of
Representatives is on track to vote on the bill on Sunday.
[ID:nHEALTH] and [ID:nN1898153]

“It’s almost a ‘buy the news’ type of thing. People have been
playing it from the short side, and now we’ve got a little more
clarity and the cover is taking place today,” said Craig Miller,
market maker in healthcare trading at Stifel Nicolaus in Baltimore.

The Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index (.HMO: ) rose 3.2
percent.

The Dow marked a seven-day winning streak in Wednesday’s session,
its longest since an eight-session run in August 2009. Volume,
however, has been tepid ahead of key options expirations on Thursday
and Friday, when four different types of options and futures
contracts expire in a convergence known as “quadruple witching.”

Stock Trading

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Jan Paschal)

US STOCKS-Dow gains on Boeing strength, S&P dips after data