By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 ended only nominally higher on Thursday, with chipmakers helping push the Nasdaq into green territory in a muted Veterans Day session, the day after hotter-than-expected inflation reports dampened investor sentiment and halted a streak of record closing highs.
Walt Disney Co, falling in the wake of a disappointing earnings report, dragged the Dow into the red.
The bond market was closed in observance of Veterans Day, and in the absence of economic data and with third-quarter earnings season winding down, there were few catalysts to move markets in either direction.
"Days like today are really hard to judge because you essentially have half the market closed," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. "Specific company and industry events are driving today’s markets."
"There will be a lot more trading tomorrow than today, so we’ll have to wait and see what will happen," Tuz added.
Investors were favoring growth over value, and economically sensitive smallcaps and chips were outperforming the broader market.
The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index gained 1.9%, bouncing back from its worst session in more than six weeks, driven by gains in Nvidia Corp after brokerage Susquehanna raised the chipmaker's price target.
Market participants were digesting recent inflation data, which suggested that the current wave of price spikes due to chronic worldwide supply challenges could have more staying power than many - including the U.S. Federal Reserve - had hoped.
With consumer sentiment data expected tomorrow and a string of retailers due to report quarterly earnings over the next few weeks, focus is shifting to consumer spending as the holiday shopping season approaches.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 158.71 points, or 0.44%, to 35,921.23, the S&P 500 gained 2.56 points, or 0.06%, to 4,649.27 and the Nasdaq Composite added 81.58 points, or 0.52%, to 15,704.28.
Among the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, six closed higher, with materials leading the gainers. Utilities suffered the largest percentage loss.
Shares of Walt Disney Co sank 7.1% and were the heaviest drag on the Dow following its disappointing earnings release, in which the media company reported shortfalls in streaming subscribers and theme park revenues.
Electric automaker Rivian Automotive Inc's shares jumped 22.1% a day after closing 29.1% above its offer price in its debut as a publicly traded company.
Rival Lucid Group Inc's shares surged by 10.4%.
But Tesla Inc slipped 0.4% following news that CEO Elon Musk sold about $5 billion of the stock in the company over the last few days, following his infamous Twitter poll on whether he should shed 10% of his shares in the firm he founded.
Dillard's Inc gained 10.0% after handily beating quarterly earnings and revenue forecasts. Fellow department stores Macy's Inc and Nordstrom Inc, which have yet to report quarterly results, rose between 2% and 3.6%.
Tapestry Inc gained 8.4% after the luxury fashion accessories firm boosted its annual sales forecast and announced a $1 billion share buyback plan.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.37-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.40-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 15 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 114 new highs and 125 new lows.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 9.61 billion shares, compared with the 10.91 billion average over the last 20 trading days.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; additional reporting by Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Diane Craft)