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Stocks struggle to a mixed finish

Specialist Mario Picone works at his post on

Specialist Mario Picone works at his post on the floor of the NYSE, Tuesday, July 18, 2017. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stock indexes essentially hit the snooze bar Thursday as investors were relieved the European Central Bank didn’t announce any changes to its stimulus policies.

Europe’s central bank maintained its current policies and ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank hasn’t even set a date for considering changes. Investors were startled a month ago when he spoke about scaling back the stimulus program.

Sears announced an online appliance sales pact with Amazon.com, and appliance makers and home improvement stores dropped.

But overall the market hardly budged. While stocks have been setting record highs for most of 2017, including Wednesday, the market is having its quietest year in decades.

“There’s the belief that the Fed and the ECB are backstopping markets and if something bad were to happen, they would increase accommodation,” said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 0.02 percent to 2,473.45. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 28.97 points to 21,611.78. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.08 percent to a record high of 6,390. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 0.04 percent to 1,442.35, also a record. — AP

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