US STOCKS-Stocks end mixed; Dow creeps up to new record high
* Housing starts jump to 7.5-yr high
* Financials gain; energy shares down with oil prices
* Indexes: Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P down 0.1 pct, Nasdaq down 0.2 pct (Updates to close, adds comment)
By Noel Randewich
May 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ended mixed on Tuesday, with the Dow rising marginally to a second straight record high, as Wall Street digested housing data that some saw as hopeful for an economy struggling to grow.
U.S. housing starts jumped to their highest level in nearly 7-1/2 years in April and permits soared.
Some investors interpreted that as a promising sign that a slow economy may be gaining steam, while others focused on uncertainty about when the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates to head off inflation.
"There really is a lot of fear about the threat of higher interest rates," said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma. "It's not an 'if' story. It's a 'when' story."
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 13.51 points, or 0.07 percent, to end at 18,312.39 points. Continuación...