New York - US stocks were little changed on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 creeping up to another record closing high in a lethargic session, though a number of retail stocks traded heavily after reporting results.
Both Tiffany & Company and apparel retailer Express rose after posting quarterly revenue that topped expectations and raising their full-year profit views.
Shares of Tiffany rose 1 percent to $101.75 while Express jumped 12.7 percent to $16.45 on volume that easily eclipsed its 50-day average.
Best Buy was the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer, up 6.3 percent at $31.69. The electronics retailer rebounded from a 6.8 percent plunge on Tuesday after it forecast a drop in full-year sales.
The S&P retail index edged up 0.1 percent. After a sluggish start to the year, the index is up 8.4 percent for August, on pace for its best month since October 2011.
On the downside, apparel retailer Chico's FAS fell 4.6 percent to $15.29 after its results.
The retailers “are always late in the earnings season announcements, so there has been a lot of volatility due to earnings at a time of low volume”, said Robert Eschweiler, global investment specialist at JPMorgan Private Bank in Houston.
“In a lot of cases there has been a lot of short activity, so you get big moves in either direction,” he said.
Volume was depressed with some market participants on vacation ahead of the Labor Day long holiday weekend in the United States.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15.31 points, or 0.09 percent, to 17,122.01. The S&P 500 gained 0.1 point, or 0.01 percent, to 2,000.12, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.02 points, or 0.02 percent, to 4,569.62.
The S&P was slightly below the 2,000 mark as the closing bell rang, but it crept marginally higher to set a record close as trading settled, its 31st record close of the year.
Analog Devices was one of the S&P 500's biggest decliners, off 2.3 percent at $51.03 a day after reporting third-quarter results.
Even so, the Nasdaq 100 notched its 11th straight advance, its longest winning streak in about 14 months.
Digital Ally slumped 19.5 percent to $11.49 on heavy volume, pulling back after a massive rally that had driven the stock's price up more than 200 percent in August. The wearable camera maker has reported heightened demand since August 9, when a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, triggering weeks of protests.
Volume was thin, with about 4.05 billion shares traded on US exchanges, well below the 5.39 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS Global Markets.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,705 to 1,305, while on the Nasdaq, decliners beat advancers 1,492 to 1,179. - Reuters