* Jobless claims average shows resilient labor market
* Factory data and home resales weaker-than expected
* Nasdaq crosses record high close
* Shake Shack hits record on trademark filing
* Indexes up: Dow 0.1 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.4 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal
May 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose in afternoon trading on Thursday, with the S&P 500 just shy of its record high and the Nasdaq crossing its record close, as disappointing economic data bolstered the view that an interest rate hike would come only later in the year.
While the Dow and the S&P are near record levels this week, trading has stayed in a narrow range and volumes have been subdued as the quarterly earnings season draws to a close.
Federal Reserve officials all but ruled out a rate hike next month and investors now await Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech on Friday for clues on when an era of near-zero interest rates will end.
Most central bank officials felt the economy was set to rebound from a dismal start to the year, according to minutes from their April policy meeting.
Though data on Thursday showed that jobless claims rose more than expected last week, the underlying trend continued to point to a rapidly tightening labor market.
But that strength was offset by other data that showed a surprise decline in home resales in April and persistent weakness in manufacturing in May.
“I doubt we’ll see a rate hike this year,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.
“The market is weighed down by debt. It’s very difficult to see consumer spending ramp up substantially unless the debt levels fall.”
The Fed has kept interest rates at near zero for almost a decade, which has made funds cheaper and helped the stock market reach record highs.
At 13:11 p.m. ET (1711 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 18.12 points, or 0.1 percent, at 18,303.52. The S&P 500 was up 6.41 points, or 0.3 percent, at 2,132.26, a whisker away from its intraday high of 2,134.72.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 19.81 points, or 0.39 percent, at 5,091.56. It had earlier crossed its record high close of 5,092.08 hit in April.
Seven of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the energy index rising 0.9 percent as oil prices rose for a second day.
Shake Shack rose as much as 9.3 percent to a record high of $90.52 after the hamburger chain filed an application to trademark “Chicken Shack” for chicken sandwiches.
Salesforce.com, the subject of takeover speculation for the past few weeks, rose 4 percent to $73 after posting a profit for the first time in seven quarters.
NetApp, the biggest drag on the S&P, fell as much as 12.7 percent to a 30-month low of $30.85 after reporting lower-than-expected quarterly results.
Lumber Liquidators plunged as much as 17.2 percent to a more than three-year low of $21.92 after the hardwood flooring retailer’s chief executive resigned unexpectedly.
CVS Health was up 3.4 percent at $104.78 after it said it would buy pharmacy service provider Omnicare for $10.1 billion. Omnicare shares rose 1.6 percent to $96.18.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,729 to 1,245, for a 1.39-to-1 ratio on the upside. On the Nasdaq, 1,373 issues rose and 1,284 fell for a 1.07-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The S&P 500 index showed 16 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 68 new highs and 32 new lows. (Editing by Savio D‘Souza)