The smallest of gains gave the Standard & Poor's 500 index its seventh straight winning day Thursday, but the index failed to close above the 1,500 level, restrained by Apple's worst day in more than four years.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index, however, managed to hit its longest winning streak since October 2006.
"The market has sent the message it is no longer driven by the whims of Apple," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York.
The S&P briefly traded above 1,500 for the first time since Dec. 12, 2007, but failed to hold above it, indicating that momentum is waning.
Economic data helped buoy equities as U.S. factory activity grew the most in nearly two years in January and new claims for jobless benefits dropped to a five-year low last week, giving surprisingly strong signals on the economy's pulse.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46 points to close at 13,825.33. The S&P was virtually unchanged at 1,494.82. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 0.74 percent to end at 3,130.38, with most of that loss on Apple's slide.