NEW YORK - U.S. stocks on Thursday climbed for a second day, denting weekly losses, after better-than-expected economic reports trumped the belief that good data increase odds that the Federal Reserve will scale back bond purchases next month.

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks on Thursday climbed for a second day, denting weekly losses, after better-than-expected economic reports trumped the belief that good data increase odds that the Federal Reserve will scale back bond purchases next month.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended at 14,840.95, up 16.44 points, or 0.1 percent.

The S&P 500 index added 3.21 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,638.17.

The U.S. economy climbed at a more rapid pace in the second quarter than previously believed, with gross domestic product up 2.5 percent at an annual rate in the April to June period instead of the initial read of 1.7 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“The stock people are torn between two things. The GDP going up would normally push stocks higher, but this is the last GDP report that prints before the Fed meets again,” said Chuck Butler, president, EverBank World Markets.

The price of crude retreated from the highest level in more than two years amid reports that a military strike against Syria might not be imminent. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, oil futures for October delivery falling $1.30, or 1.2 percent, at $108.80 a barrel.

Energy stocks had led the broad market higher Wednesday as the price of oil hit a two-year high above $110 on concerns over Syria.

“The markets have put it (Syria) on the back burner today. One of the reasons why is the prime minister of the U.K. said an immediate strike against Syria is not imminent,” said Butler, who believes crude will “eventually settle back down to the high” $90 a barrel level.

Thursday’s economic reports included the government’s count of those applying for jobless benefits, with the number falling by 6,000 to 331,000 last week, with the four-week moving average up 750 at 331,250, a level that has it near its lowest since late 2007.

Shares of Verizon Communications Inc. paced blue-chip gains, up 2.7 percent, after Vodafone Group PLC said the companies were in negotiations over their Verizon Wireless venture. Vodafone’s U.S. shares surged 8.1 percent.

Off the Dow, Guess Inc. shares leapt nearly 13 percent after the apparel retailer reported second-quarter profit that beat expectations.

The Nasdaq composite gained 26.95 points, or 0.8 percent, to 3,620.30.

Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, a critic of the Fed’s third round of asset purchases, said Thursday afternoon that a “good case can be made” for reducing the Fed’s bond-purchase program, given improvements in the labor market.

Gold futures fell $5.90, or 0.4 percent, to end at $1,412.90 an ounce.

Longer-term Treasury prices rose. “The 10-year notes made a good recovery from early losses in the face of the stronger-than-expected GDP revision. I’m thinking the bond market is finally ready for the long-awaited tapering,” Elliot Spar, market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., noted in afternoon commentary.

“However, the action in the interest-sensitive sectors such as utilities, REITs (real estate investment trusts) and housing are mixed,” Spar added.

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