NEW YORK, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks finished mixed Thursday, with the Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index ending at its all-time high, after a last-minute deal was struck to reopen the U. S. government and raise the debt ceiling.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2.18 points, or 0.01 percent, to 15,371.65 points. The S&P 500 rose 11.61 points, or 0. 67 percent, to 1,733.15 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 23.72 points, or 0.62 percent, to 3,863.15 points.
"The market in general is doing good. The big thing is tapering. There is no way that the Fed would taper (soon)," Alan Valdes, director of floor trading at DME Securities, told Xinhua Thursday.
The stock market has been greatly boosted since it hit a 12- year low in March 2009 by the U.S. Federal Reserve's quantitative easing to boost the economic growth and create jobs. Wall Street is expected to continue to move higher if the Fed keeps pouring money into the market.
The U.S. government ended its 16-day partial shutdown after U.S. President Barack Obama early Thursday signed the 11th-hour deal, which passed both the Republicans-led House of Representatives and Democrats-dominated Senate Wednesday night. The bill funds the government through Jan. 15 and raises the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.
But the temporary fiscal deal failed to address many of the contentious issues but sow the seeds for another fiscal fight in the near future, thus keeping some investors still staying in sidelines.
Moreover, investors turned their focus to downbeat corporate earnings after the ending of government shutdown which had dominated the stock market in the past two weeks.
The blue-chip Dow underperformed the other two major indices, weighed down by the International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Tech giant IBM posted a 4-percent drop in its third-quarter revenue late Wednesday, missing the market expectations. IBM shares tumbled 6.37 percent 174.83 U.S. dollars apiece.
Before Thursday's opening bell, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the newly-minted Dow component, reported net revenues of 6.72 billion dollars, down 20 percent year-on-year and worse than market consensus. The giant bank's shares also dipped 2.42 percent to 158. 32 dollars.
On the economic front, U.S. jobless claims last week decreased by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 358,000, said the Labor Department.
The business activity expanded in October at a slower pace in the mid-Atlantic region, with the reading decreasing to 19.8 from 22.3 in the prior month, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported Thursday.
On other markets, the U.S. dollar plunged against major currencies Thursday, as focus turned to economic damage and expectations of a longer easing policy by the Federal Reserve.
In late New York trading, the euro jumped to 1.3676 dollars from 1.3533 dollars of the previous session. The Australian dollar went up to 0.9635 dollar from 0.9555 dollar. The dollar bought 97. 85 Japanese yen, lower than 98.74 yen of the previous session.
Gold futures settled more than 3 percent higher Thursday following the debt deal, helped by a weaker dollar. The most active gold contract for December delivery rose 40.7 dollars, or 3. 17 percent, to settle at 1,323 dollars per ounce.
Oil prices moved down as traders took profits after Wednesday's rally inspired by the fiscal debt deal.
Light, sweet crude for November delivery decreased 1.62 dollars to settle at 100.67 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for November delivery lost 1.75 dollars to close at 109.11 dollars a barrel.