After wobbly week, stocks slightly higher

Traders Stephen McSherry, center, and Vincent Quinones, right,

Traders Stephen McSherry, center, and Vincent Quinones, right, work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday. On Friday, J.C. Penney jumped 5 percent, rising $1.02 to $23.12, even though the retailer reported plummeting sales and a wider-than-expected loss. (Aug. 9, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The market had a wishy-washy Friday, capping an equally directionless week.

Stocks inched down for most of the day. Then, with 45 minutes of trading left, the Dow Jones industrial average turned positive. The Standard & Poor's 500 and the Nasdaq composite soon followed. All ended the day slightly higher.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

In a week with no major developments in Europe's debt crisis, and no surprising reports on the U.S. economy, the market struggled to figure out which way to go. The three indexes rose incrementally on Monday and Tuesday and were mixed on Wednesday and Thursday.

In a market that has grown used to triple-digit swings on the Dow, this week brought none -- the first time since early May that that's happened. It was a marked change from the same week a year ago. Back then, the Dow swung by triple digits every day, including one plunge of 634 points, after a downgrade of the U.S. debt rating.

With many money managers on vacation, trading volume was low. "The sound of silence" is how Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Ethan Harris labeled a note to clients Friday.

The Dow ended up 42.76 points at 13,207.95. The S&P 500 rose 0.22 percent to 1,405.87. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.07 percent to 3,020.86.-- AP

The latest LI business news in your inbox daily. Get the Biz Briefing newsletter!

Comments now uses Facebook for our comment boards. Please read our guidelines and connect your Facebook account to comment.

You also may be interested in: