US STOCKS-Results, jobs data buoy Wall St, S&P eyes 2,000
* Jobless claims lowest since 2006; home sales tumble
* Facebook market cap near McDonald's and UTX combined
* Ford beats expectations; recalls hurt GM
* Indexes: Dow, S&P flat; Nasdaq off 0.1 pct (Updates to morning trading, adds data, comment)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, July 24 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 hit a record high for a third straight session on Thursday, lifted by jobs data and earnings, but a weak reading in new home sales kept other key stock indexes little changed.
Stocks had opened higher on strong job market data in the United States and overseas factory readings, while Facebook shares rallied after results beat expectations.
Jobless claims fell to the lowest since mid-February 2006, pointing to continued strength in the labor market, but new home sales fell 8.1 percent in June, the most in almost a year, and May's initial reading of a more than 18 percent gain was revised to just above 8 percent, putting a damper on sentiment as the housing market struggles.
"Housing certainly seems to be the one theme that prevents this economic recovery and earnings story from being a fairly tale, it is the one reminder there are issues," said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Clearpool Group in New York. Continuación...