Stocks clawed higher Friday as solid earnings from Disney and JCPenney helped offset worries about a drop in consumer sentiment.
It was a wobbly morning: Stocks started the day higher, then retreated, then made another push higher.
The Dow snapped a six-day winning streak Thursday, sliding nearly 1 percent, but is still on track to finish up for the week.
Reuters and the University of Michigan reported their gauge of consumer sentiment dropped to 66 in November, its lowest level in three months and well below the 71 economists had expected.
Earlier, a report showed the US trade deficit swelled to its highest level in more than 10 yearsas import prices climbed 0.7 percent.
The news was good from overseas: Germany and France both logged their second straight quarters of growth. And IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said he doesn't see a double-dip recession.
Disney was the biggest gainer on the Dow after the entertainment giant beat expectationsfor both earnings and revenue after the bell Thursday.
Merck and Travelers rounded out the Dow's top three.
J.C. Penney gained after the department-store operator reported its profit fell but raised its full-year forecast.