Stocks Finish Mixed as Bonds Slump


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The major U.S. equity averages finished mixed in moribund trading Wednesday with volume once again running extremely light.

August has seen trading in stocks sink to the lowest levels in five years and Wednesday's session saw a similar lack of interest with just 2.65 billion shares changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange and 1.54 billion in play on the Nasdaq.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 7 points, or 0.06%, to close at 13,165. The blue-chip index ranged less than 55 points on the day.

Winners edged losers within the Dow, 16 to 14. The biggest percentage gainers were American Express ( AXP), Bank of America ( BAC) Cisco ( CSCO) and United Technologies ( UTX).

Shares of Cisco were following up their 1.1% gain in the regular session with a 5% jump in after-hours action after the networker delivered an above-consensus quarterly profit and announced plans to raise its quarterly dividend by 75% to 14 cents a share.

Intel ( INTC), Kraft Foods ( KFT) and Merck ( MRK) were among the blue-chip losers.

Intel shares slumped after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.A) revealed in a 13-F filing it sold a stake in the chip giant, among other moves.

The S&P 500 added nearly 2 points, or 0.11%, to settle at 1405.53, while the Nasdaq gained 14 points, or 0.46%, to close at 3031.

Transportation was really the only strong sector in the broad market, while utilities, capital goods and basic materials were the only groups in the red. Winners finished ahead of losers by a 1.7-to-1 ratio on the Big Board and 2-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

Before the open, the Labor Department said the consumer price index was unchanged in July versus an unchanged reading in June. The core number, excluding the food and energy items, rose 0.1% after being up 0.2% in June. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the headline CPI to rise 0.2% in July and the core number to stay at 0.2%.

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