Wall Street indexes flat in pre-holiday lull; health, consumer up
By Sinead Carew
(Reuters) - The major U.S. indexes were virtually unchanged at the close of a quiet trading day on Wednesday with gains in healthcare and consumer stocks after data showed U.S. modest economic growth.
Trading volume was low as many market participants were away in the last session before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Markets will be closed Thursday and most of Friday afternoon.
"The news this morning was a little better than worse, so the market went up," said Peter Costa, president of Empire Executions Inc, citing mixed economic data.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 1.2 points, or 0.01 percent, to 17,813.39, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.27 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,088.87 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 13.34 points, or 0.26 percent, to 5,116.14.
Data showed claims for jobless benefits fell more than expected to 260,000 last week, while durable goods orders for October, excluding aircraft, increased 1.3 percent, far more than the 0.4 percent expected.
However, other reports suggested consumers were not in a spending mood, with consumer spending increasing just 0.1 percent in October compared with the 0.3 percent expected.
The University of Michigan's final index of consumer sentiment for November also fell short of estimates.
While investors cited good conditions for consumers, they were cautious about global security issues and the impact from the first U.S. interest rate hike since 2006, which is widely expected to happen in December. Continued...