Stocks had a fitting end to a choppy July as prices seesawed their way to a narrowly mixed finish. But despite the turbulence, this was still the market's best month in a year.
Investors had an ambivalent response to the government's gross domestic product report, which showed that economic growth slowed in the April-June quarter. The Dow Jones industrial average fell almost 120 points in early trading, then ratcheted up and down until the close.
The day was much like the rest of July, which saw investors alternately buying on strong earnings reports and selling on weak economic numbers. The Dow rose 7.1 percent for the month, its best showing since it rose 7.8 percent in July 2009.
But a repeat performance in August seemed unlikely amid investors' pessimism at the end of the month, especially since the bulk of companies' second-quarter earnings reports are in.
"It's a very cautious environment today," said Rob Lutts, president at Cabot Money Management. That caution, he said, is what leads investors to sell.
The Dow fell 1.22, or 0.01 percent, to 10,465.94. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.07, or 0.01 percent, to 1,101.60, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 3.01, or 0.1 percent, to 2,254.70.- AP