Stocks finish up slightly on economic growth

The ringing of the opening bell at the

The ringing of the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange was in good hands Wednesday as some members of the U.S. Olympic rowing team took on the chore. The gold-medal winning team representatives are, from left, Erin Cafaro, Meghan Musnicki, Esther Lofgren and Mary Whipple. (Aug. 15, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

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Signs that the economic recovery is advancing, albeit slowly, sent stocks bouncing up and down in narrow ranges in Wednesday's trading.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 7.36 points to 13,164.78. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 0.11 percent at 1,405.53 and the Nasdaq composite index rose 0.46 percent to 3,030.93.

U.S. industrial production increased last month as factories made more cars, computers and airplanes, according to the Federal Reserve.

"Unless the U.S. economy goes into a swoon and there is no pick up in retail sales and deterioration in jobs growth or major shocks from Europe and China, the Fed will not take any action for now," said David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors.

The bond market is betting that the Fed is not likely to act, with yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note up to 1.81 percent Wednesday.

As investors shuffled their money around, the Russell 2000 index of small stocks gained the most of the major indexes, 0.9 percent.

The Dow Wednesday traded within a range of just 54 points. Gaining stocks outnumbered losing ones almost two to one.

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