NEW YORK — Stocks are mixed in early trading as prospects for a budget deal and more signs of a U.S. recovery suggest that the Federal Reserve may wind down its support for the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,822 after the first few minutes of trading Thursday. The Dow has fallen seven of the last nine days.
In this Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 photo, traders Gregory Rowe, left, and Michael Urkonis work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. World stock markets extended losses Thursday Dec. 12, 2013 after an apparent budget deal in the U.S. Congress reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will cut its monetary stimulus as early as next week. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down a fraction at 1,782. The Nasdaq composite edged up six points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,010.
The four-week average number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits edged up to 328,750, about where it was before the recession.
Also, U.S. shoppers increased their spending last month.
Facebook rose 4 percent after the stock was added to the S&P 500 index.
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