* Dow down 0.1 pct, S&P up 0.01 pct, Nasdaq up 0.3 pct
(Updates to midday)
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little
changed Wednesday as energy shares weighed, while a
reassuring same-store sales forecast from Target pushed
consumer stocks higher.
Target Corpsaid in a conference call it sees its
third-quarter same-store sales up 1 to 3 percent, sending its
shares up 2.7 percent at $52.04. The stock had earlier traded
down about 3 percent as investors panned its quarterly
"Some of the comments from Target have driven people into
wanting to start nibbling at the retailers or covering some
shorts," said Michael James, senior trader at regional
investment bank Wedbush Morgan in Los Angeles. James said the
same-store sales guidance was better than had been feared.
The consumer discretionary sector gained 0.9
percent and helped lift indexes off their lows.
Target also said it would open 20 or more new stores next
year and more than 30 in 2012.
However, declining energy shares and lackluster earnings
kept gains in check. The S&P 500 index was also trading around
its 50-day moving average, struggling to break it decisively.
The 50-day average is currently around 1,088.
The inability to push through that level with conviction is
illustrative of an unenthusiastic market as investors reassess
their outlook on the economy, said Kurt Brunner, portfolio
manager at Swarthmore Group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"You don't have the energy to push it through and that
might take a little while," Brunner said.
The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 8.93 points,
or 0.09 percent, to 10,396.92. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
edged up 0.15 point, or 0.01 percent, at 1,092.69. The
Nasdaq Composite Index added 6.79 points, or 0.31
percent, to 2,216.23.
Despite an absence of economic data Wednesday, worries
over the strength of the recovery gave investors little reason
to get into the market.
Farm equipment maker Deere & Co fell 2.6 percent to
$65.51 after it beat estimates but said sales were "far below
Warehouse club operator BJ's Wholesale Club Inc
missed profit expectations, sending its shares down 3.1 percent
Energy shares fell as crude oil futures dropped more than 2
percent. Chevron Corpdropped 1 percent to $77.04 and
Exxon Mobil Corp was off 1.5 percent to $59.90. Both
were the biggest drags on the Dow industrials.
Gains in technology stocks help to temper declines as a 1.8
percent gain in Cisco Systems to $22.45 helped the
Nasdaq fare better than the other indexes.
Analog Devices Incrose 3.4 percent to $29.80 a day
after the microchip maker posted a quarterly profit that topped
estimates and issued a better-than-expected fourth-quarter
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Kenneth Barry)