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Stocks Drift Between Gains, Losses

Stocks Drift Between Gains, Losses


 By Alexandra Scaggs 

U.S. stocks drifted around unchanged levels Wednesday afternoon, pausing after the S&P 500 index closed above 2000 for the first time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tacked on 14 points, or 0.1%, to 17121. The S&P 500 index slipped less than 0.1% to 2000, and the Nasdaq Composite Index edged up less than 0.1% to 4572.

Stocks drifted between slight gains and losses after Tuesday's quiet trading session, when the S&P 500 made its 30th record close for the year and the Dow industrials hit a fresh intraday high.

There was little economic news on the calendar Wednesday, so traders instead eyed the latest corporate news and high-profile deals.

Shares of a handful of retailers were bolstered by strong quarterly reports. Retailers have struggled this year, with the SPDR S&P Retail exchange-traded fund up 1.5% to the broader market's 8.5% advance.

"The industry has been under a dark cloud for so long," said Lawrence Creatura, a small-cap fund portfolio manager at Federated Investors. "Expectations are practically subterranean... [but] even industries that are under pressure can be mispriced, and that seems to be where we're at with some retailers."

Express Inc. rallied 13% after its results exceeded Wall Street's forecasts, and it lifted its full-year forecast. Michaels Cos. jumped 8.2% after its sales were stronger than expected, and it raised its outlook for the year.

Tiffany Co. gained 1% after reporting strong results and lifted its projections for the year.

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