By Julia Edwards
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 closed at a record high on Thursday as investor confidence grew following a last-minute deal to avoid a U.S. default, but weaker-than-expected results from heavyweights IBM and Goldman Sachs pressured the Dow.
The S&P 500's intraday record of 1732.92 broke the all-time high set September 19. Over 80 percent of stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange rose. Technology was the only S&P sector to show a loss as IBM led the decline.
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Congress approved an 11th-hour deal on Wednesday to end a partial government shutdown and increase U.S. borrowing authority, pulling the United States back from a possible default on its debt.
The political wrangling has led some investors to believe the U.S. Federal Reserve will have no choice but to leave its fiscal stimulus measures in place for several more months. That could keep stocks rising through the rest of the year.
"The scare that was created by the lengthy delay in resolving the (fiscal) issue has created a situation that has taken Fed tapering off the table for a considerable period here," said Stephen Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Equity Management in San Francisco.
"That is why we saw buying over the last week and that is why we will see continued buying for a few more days."
The CBOE Volatility Index , a measure of investor anxiety, fell to 13.43, the lowest since September 20, the week before the government shutdown began.
Investors had worried that an extended shutdown would weigh on economic growth and corporate outlooks. A Reuters survey showed economists have grown less optimistic about prospects for the economy as the fight over fiscal policy took its toll.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 3.98 points, or 0.03 percent, at 15,369.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 11.36 points, or 0.66 percent, at 1,732.90. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 23.72 points, or 0.62 percent, at 3,863.15.
Trading volume was relatively light at 5.3 billion total shares.
So far, 54.4 percent of companies in the S&P 500 have beaten Wall Street revenue estimates, down from the 61 percent average since 2002 but above the 49 percent average for the past four quarters.
Among gainers, shares of Verizon Communications Inc
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The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped from a six-month high last week but remained elevated as California continued to deal with a backlog related to computer problems.
The pace of manufacturing growth in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region slowed slightly in October, but firms' optimism about the future hit a 10-year high, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said.
(Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Kenneth Barry)