US STOCKS-Wall St rises after Putin comments ease Ukraine worries

Reuters

* Putin strikes conciliatory tone

* Berkshire shares rise above $200,000

* Jobless claims rose more than expected in latest week

* Dow up 0.3 pct, S&P up 0.3 pct and Nasdaq up 0.3 pct (Updates to afternoon trading)

By Akane Otani

NEW YORK, Aug 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose modestly on Thursday after conciliatory comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin helped ease concerns about escalation in Ukraine and offset some uninspiring earnings reports.

Putin said Russia would stand up for itself but not at the cost of confrontation with the outside world, striking a conciliatory tone after months of tough rhetoric aimed at Ukraine.

The market had been pressured in recent weeks by uncertainty over the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the nation's largest retailer, met expectations for revenue and earnings but lowered its forecast for coming quarters. Shares of the Dow component were up 0.4 percent to $74.36.

Cisco Systems Inc fell 2.3 percent to $24.62. The company, also a Dow component, gave a tepid outlook Wednesday for its current quarter and announced massive job cuts even as revenue beat expectations.

Shares of Boeing Co were up 1.8 percent to $124.20, the Dow's biggest gainer. The company said it was seeing very strong demand for commercial jetliners and signaled it is getting close to deciding whether to further accelerate output.

The market shrugged off U.S. jobless claims that rose more than expected last week. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 311,000, but economists say that, overall, the labor market is continuing to improve.

"I wouldn't look at any one data point and get too concerned about it," said Gary Flam, portfolio manager at Bel Air Investment Advisors in Los Angeles.

The Dow Jones industrial average is rising 51.31 points, or 0.31 percent, to 16,703.11, the S&P 500 is up 7.38 points, or 0.38 percent, to 1,954.1 and the Nasdaq Composite is adding 15.06 points, or 0.34 percent, to 4,449.18.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc's share price on Thursday crossed $200,000 for the first time, the latest milestone for the company that Warren Buffett built over nearly five decades.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers had its worst trading day since November 2006. The burger chain reported quarterly earnings and revenue sharply below expectations. Shares tumbled 20.4 percent to $51.39.

The chief executive of NewLink Genetics Corp, which licensed an Ebola vaccine developed by Canadian government scientists, late Wednesday told Reuters it had enough doses to launch the first human safety trial of an Ebola vaccine this summer. Shares jumped 12.4 percent to $26.36.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)

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