NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are wavering between gains and losses in light trading Friday, with the S&P 500 index edging up following six straight days of losses. Even with modest gains, major indexes remain on track to post their worst week since September.
Worries about Europe’s debt crisis flared up again Friday after Italy had to pay 7.8 percent to borrow for two years at a debt auction. It’s another sign that investors are growing hesitant to lend to European countries.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 16 points, or 0.1 percent, to 11,272 as of 12:10 a.m. Eastern. Travelers Cos. Inc was up 1.4 percent, the most of the Dow’s 30 stocks.
The Dow remains down 4.5 percent for the week, putting the average on track for its worst week since late September.
The S&P 500 index is up 1 point to 1,162. The Nasdaq is down 12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,448.
The euro slipped to $1.32 and is now down 2 percent this week against the dollar. The drop puts the euro at its lowest level since Oct. 6.
Higher interest rates on government debt backed by Italy, Spain and other European countries have rattled stock markets in recent weeks. When borrowing costs climb above the 7 percent threshold, it deepens fears about a government’s ability to manage its debts. Greece, Ireland and Portugal were forced to seek financial lifelines when their interest rates crossed the same mark.
Markets have been battered this week as governments in Europe and the U.S. struggle to tackle their debts. The Dow lost 248 points on Monday as a Congressional committee failed to reach a deal to cut federal budget deficits. It plunged 236 points Wednesday after investors balked at buying German government debt.
In midday trading, AT&T’s stock was down less than 1 percent. The company said Thursday that it’s budgeting to pay $4 billion in break-up fees if its attempted $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom falls apart.
Retailers were trading mixed on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season and usually the busiest day of the year for retailers. Amazon.com Inc. dropped 3.3 percent. Macy’s Inc. inched up less than 1 percent.
A record number of people are expected to show up at stores this weekend to take advantage of deep discounts. The National Retail Federation estimates that 152 million people will go shopping over the three days starting on Friday. That would be an increase of 10 percent from last year.
Trading will end at 1 p.m. Eastern time. U.S. markets were closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.