NEW YORK — U.S. stocks meandered between small gains and losses today, cooling off after a rally that had pushed the Standard & Poor's 500 index above 1,500 for the first time since December, 2007. Encouraging news about manufacturing provided an early boost, but stocks fell later after a report on the pace of home sales fell short of expectations.
The Dow fell 14 points to 13,881. The S&P 500 fell 2 points to 1,500. The Nasdaq composite index rose 4 to 3,154.
Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar said its fourth-quarter net income exceeded analysts’ expectations. It ended trading up $1.87 at $97.45.
Declining stocks marginally outpaced advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was average at 3.3 billion shares.