Dow falls but Nasdaq edges closer to 5,000

NEW YORK (AFP) - A disappointing forecast from Wal-Mart and weakness in oil stocks Thursday pushed the Dow lower, while the Nasdaq edged closer to 5,000 thanks to strong results from Priceline.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 17,987.12, down 42.73 points (0.24 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 2.14 (0.10 per cent) to 2,097.54, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 18.34 (0.37 per cent) to 4,924.70.

Wal-Mart was the biggest loser in the blue-chip index, falling 3.2 per cent after disclosing a lower-than-expected profit forecast due in part to a plan to raise wages for 500,000 workers in the US.

But online travel site Priceline gained 8.6 per cent after reporting a 20 per cent rise in quarterly earnings and announcing plans to buy back up to US$3 billion (S$4 billion) in shares.

Facebook and Tesla Motors both rose by 3.5 per cent.