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Stocks wobble as Europe holds off on stimulus

Matthew Craft, AP Business Writer

Trader Thomas McCauley, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. The U.S. stock market wobbled between small gains and losses in early trading Thursday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The stock market wobbled between small gains and losses in morning trading Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 13 points at 13,047 as of 11:21 a.m. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose three points to 1,412 and the Nasdaq composite rose 17 points to 2,991.

Apple rose $10.40 to $549.19, a day after taking its worst fall in four years. In separate interviews, CEO Tim Cook said Apple will produce one of its existing lines of Mac computers in the United States next year and will spend $100 million in 2013 to shift production of the line from China.

Europe's Central bank cut its growth forecast for next year and left its benchmark interest rate unchanged. European unemployment continues to rise even though rates remain at record lows.

The U.S. Labor Department said unemployment benefits applications dropped 25,000 last week to 370,000, a level consistent with modest hiring. The decline was also a sign that the spike in applications caused by Superstorm Sandy has faded.

The report comes a day before the government releases its closely watched jobs survey. Private economists forecast that hiring in November sank sharply from the previous month. The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 7.9 percent. Some economists say the storm could cause the Labor Department's hiring figures to be much lower.

Among other stocks making big moves:

H&R Block jumped 4 percent after posting revenue and earnings that beat analysts' estimates. The country's largest tax preparation company reported a smaller loss, helped by cost-cutting efforts. It typically turns in a loss in the August-to-October period because it takes in most of its revenue during the U.S. tax season. H&R Block gained 77 cents to $18.14.

Men's Wearhouse dropped $1.49 to $29.86 after the men's clothing company's third-quarter results missed Wall Street's estimates. The company also cut its full-year and fourth-quarter profit forecasts.

Boeing fell 45 cents to $73.42. United Airlines said a failed electrical generator in one of its new Boeing 787s caused the plan to make an emergency landing in New Orleans, shortly after taking off from Houston.

In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year note slipped to 1.57 percent. That's down from 1.59 percent late Wednesday.

For the month, the S&P 500 is down 0.5 percent and the Dow is up 0.1 percent. The Nasdaq has lost 1.2 percent.