NEW YORK (CNNfn) - The Dow came off its lows and broader stock markets drifted slightly higher Wednesday afternoon as trading slowed down and some investors headed home for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Shortly before 1:30 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was 3.34 points lower at 9,297.81. Advances barely led declines 1,433 to 1,425 as 382 million shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Nasdaq Composite rose 9.35 to 1,975.23 and the S&P 500 index was up 2.76 at 1,185.75. (Click here for a look at today's CNNfn market movers)
The bond market was modestly higher, getting little inspiration from the day's heavy dose of economic data. The benchmark 30-year Treasury bond rose 12/32 of a point in price, for a yield of 5.18 percent.
The dollar maintained modest gains against both the Japanese yen and the German mark.
U.S. financial markets will be closed Thursday for the holiday.
Holiday mood slows down stocks
The news makers in the stock market were few and far between on a day in which investors seemed ready to slow down and leave early for Thanksgiving.
But the holiday spirit did not prevent investors from pushing the stock of Sabratek (SBTK), a maker of alternative-site health care products and devices, down 9-13/16, or more than 42 percent, to 13-7/16. The reason for the tumble lay in the company's announcement that it had discontinued its Rocap line of prepackaged and prefilled flush syringes. As a result, its fourth-quarter performance is expected to suffer.
Elsewhere, shares of Intuit (INTU) fell 1-7/8 to 58 even after the company reported a smaller-than-expected fiscal-first-quarter operating loss.
And the stock of Novell (NOVL) climbed 27/32 to 18-7/32 after that company's fourth-quarter results beat market predictions.
Finally, investors failed to warm up to the prospect of a corporate union between Seagull Energy (SGO) and Ocean Energy (OEI), a deal that will create a sizable independent exploration and production firm. Shares of Seagull tumbled 13/16 to 10 and the stock of Ocean dropped 1/2 to 9-3/4.
-- by staff writer Malina Poshtova Zang