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US STOCKS-Wall Street mixed; Procter and Whole Foods slide
July 30, 2015 / 6:53 PM / in 2 years

US STOCKS-Wall Street mixed; Procter and Whole Foods slide

* U.S. economic growth picked up in second quarter

* Facebook, Whole Foods fall after results

* US quarterly earnings over half way through

* Dow down 0.08 pct, S&P down 0.07, Nasdaq up 0.34 pct (Updates to afternoon)

By Noel Randewich

July 30 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 was on track for its flattest session in two weeks on Thursday as investors digested ho-hum corporate earnings and new data showed that the economy grew more quickly in the second quarter.

Procter & Gamble, Facebook and Whole Foods Market all fell after quarterly reports that left investors wanting more.

U.S. economic growth accelerated in the June quarter as solid consumer spending offset a drag from weak business spending on equipment, suggesting steady momentum that could bring the Federal Reserve closer to hiking interest rates this year.

With a mixed bag of corporate earnings over halfway through second-quarter reporting season and a sharp focus on when the Federal Reserve will begin raising interest rates from nearly zero, investors on Thursday saw few reasons to pay more for shares.

“We’ve been stuck in a 3-percent band since almost the beginning of the year,” said Warren West, principal at Greentree Brokerage Services in Philadelphia. “There’s nothing motivating investors to push it outside of that in either direction.”

At 2:25 pm, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.08 percent at 17,736.66. The S&P 500 was 0.07 percent lower at 2,107.09 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.34 percent at 5,129.30.

Five of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower with the energy index’s 0.95 percent fall leading the decliners and a 0.66 percent rise in the utilities index leading gainers.

With 64 percent of S&P 500 companies having reported second-quarter results, analysts expect overall earnings to edge up 1 percent and revenue to decline 3.6 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Valuations remain a concern. The S&P 500 is trading near 16.8 times forward 12-month earnings, above the 10-year median of 14.7 times, according to StarMine data.

Companies scheduled to report during the day include Expedia , LinkedIn and Western Union after the close.

Skechers USA jumped 15.6 percent as the sports shoe maker and retailer reported a better-than-expected rise in quarterly revenue.

Procter & Gamble fell 3.9 percent, Facebook dropped 1.6 percent and Whole Foods slumped 12.4 percent.

Declining issues edged advancing ones on the NYSE by 1.10 to 1. On the Nasdaq, gainers outnumbered losers by 1.02 to 1.

The S&P 500 was posting 32 new 52-week highs and 6 lows; the Nasdaq was recording 60 new highs and 71 lows. (Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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