Technology leads US stocks higher

Technology stocks led US equity markets higher Thursday as a surprisingly good earnings report from Facebook lifted the Nasdaq.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 25.59 (0.71 percent) to 3,605.19.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 13.37 (0.09 percent) to 15,555.61, while the broad-based S&P 500 added 4.31 (0.26 percent) at 1,690.25.

Facebook was in focus after the leading social network's earnings report, released after the market closed Wednesday, showed robust growth in ad revenue from mobile technology.

Facebook shares skyrocketed nearly 30 percent to $34.36.

"The strength today is in the Nasdaq," said Kenny Landgraf with Kenjol Capital Management.

Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets, characterized earnings overall as a "mixed bag" adding that the market is in a mode of "consolidation" after recent record highs.

Dow member Dow Chemical rose 1.8 percent after besting earning expectations by a penny at 64 cents per share and reporting slightly higher-than-expected revenues. The company had bigger profit margins in some segments.

Credit-card company Visa jumped 4.2 percent after reporting a 16 percent rise in net income to $1.2 billion and announcing a new $1.5 billion share repurchase program.

Natural gas company ONEOK surged 25.5 percent after announcing a plan to split into two companies, a move that is expected to lift dividends.

Homebuilder PulteGroup plummeted 10.3 percent after revenues came in 8 percent below expectations at $1.28 billion and net new home orders sank 12 percent from the prior year.

Another homebuilder, Ryland Group, fell 5.1 percent after revenues came in 16 percent shy of projections. But new orders rose 56.7 percent and backlog also increased.

Bond prices dropped. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond rose to 2.61 percent from 2.59 percent Wednesday, while the 30-year climbed to 3.67 percent from 3.65 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.