The Dow and S&P closed near the flat line Wednesday after toggling between small gains and losses for most of the afternoon in light volume trading. The Nasdaq fell, however, as tech stocks dragged on the market.
Stocks started the session off higher by 1 percent, helped by a handful of positive retail earnings and as investors shrugged off signs of growing inflationary pressures .
The Dow Jones Industrial Average squeezed out a gain of 4.28 points to finish at 11,410.21 after flirting with the flat line for most of the afternoon. The blue-chip index gained 124 points in its intraday high and lost 84 during session lows.
Among the Dow stocks, Verizon and AmEx gained, while Hewlett-Packard and Caterpillar lagged.
The S&P 500 eked out a gain of 1.12 points to close at 1,193.88. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 11.97 points, or 0.47 percent, to end at 2,511.48.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, ended below 32.
Despite the day's anemic movement, all three major indexes are poised for their best week in almost a month.
“There’s no news today,” said Brian Battle, vice president of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners. “It’s been a headline driven market and has been for months. There are no headlines today, so we’re enjoying a nice day in the summer doldrums.”
“You’ve got exhaustion on both sides. The sellers sold where they wanted to sell, but the buyers are tired and there’s a lack of conviction,” Warren Meyers, trader at DME Securities told CNBC.
“Money is coming out of treasurys a little bit, but it’s hard to pick an area—financials were up a little bit, but they have a long ways to go off their bottom and the fact that they haven’t recovery much is a negative sign to me," Meyers continued. "That shows there’s still a fair amount of risk in this market.”