Stocks waver, with hard-to-read signs on economy
NEW YORK- U.S. stocks are dawdling between small gains and losses as investors are unable to decide what to focus on: encouraging news about the U.S. economy, or worrisome signs from China and elsewhere.
At midday Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average is down 44 points at 13,128. The Standard & Poor's 500 is down three points at 1,399. The Nasdaq composite index fell one point to 3,009.
In the U.S., the government reported that the trade deficit fell to the lowest level in 18 months. That's generally considered a good sign for the economy. But exports to China, which has driven the global economy even as other countries have stumbled, dropped 4 percent.
E-Trade is up 6 percent after ousting its CEO. The reasons for the dismissal weren't immediately clear.