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Wall Street ends near where it started

NEW YORK - U.S. stocks ended Thursday little changed after getting some mixed signals on corporate earnings and the economy.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose less than one point, or 0.05 percent, to close at 1,897.98 Thursday, barely topping a record set the day before.

The other two major indexes fell. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped two points, or 0.02 percent, to finish at 17,083.80. The Nasdaq eased one point, or 0.04 percent, closing at 4,472.11.

Facebook (FB) rose 5 percent and was among the top gainers in the S&P 500 after reporting a profit late Wednesday that beat expectations. The Dow was weighed down by Caterpillar (CAT), which fell 3 percent after the equipment maker's quarterly revenue fell short of forecasts.

Ford (F) rose 6 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $17.84 after reporting a 6 percent increase in second-quarter earnings to $1.3 billion. The automaker was helped by sales gains in Europe. General Motors (GM) fell $1.67, or 4.4 percent, to $35.74 after announcing an 85-percent drop in quarterly earnings. The company, which is in the midst of the worst recall crisis in its history, posted a net profit of $190 million.

Homebuilder stocks fell Thursday after the government reported that new home sales dropped precipitously. Sales fell 8.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 406,000. The report also revised down the May sales rate to 442,000 from 504,000. Pulte Homes (PHM) and KB Home (KBH) fell 3 percent, while Toll Brothers (TOL) fell 4 percent.