If pinging an address that doesn't exist, an error is shown that can't be prevented (as far as I've tried). Makes it difficult to use in monitoring situations you want to keep ping'ing until the address becomes live.
Not reproducible here. Apparently your system or ISP is returning an 11004 (valid name, no data record) error when AFAIK everybody else returns a 11001 (invalid host). But "nothing" is definitely not a valid name!
So you're *not* getting a -2 (unreachable) response; you're getting a DNS error and then an error return (-2). @PING will only return a -1, -2, or -3 (with no error message & exit) if you have a non-fatal error.