NEW YORK -- Blue chip stocks gave up some early trading gains today but managed to cling to a slim advance.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up just 5.82 points at 2,892.22 at 1:30 p.m. Gainers and losers were about even on moderately active trading of 96 million shares.
"Institutions are a little concerned about the market's erosion, so they're trying to lock in profits," said William Lefevre, market analyst at Tucker Anthony.
Stocks came off a day of seesaw trading Friday, when they dropped after news of an unexpectedly steep drop in November jobs and partially recouped after the Federal Reserve moved to cut a key interest rate.
"There's a tremendous amount of confusion, and it's obviously about the economy," added Alfred Goldman, director of technical analysis at A.G. Edwards & Sons.
Goldman said a cut in the discount rate was not likely to touch off a rally, but a decision by the Fed to leave the rate as is would disappoint many investors.
"The market's still in a trading range, although it's ratcheted down," said Alan Newman, a technical analyst at HD Brous & Co. "The market's simply waiting for the economy to show some growth, and that's a ways off."
Among individual stocks, shares of A.H. Belo Corp. surged 4 3/8 to 29 on expectations that its purchase of rival Times Herald Printing Co. will give it a stronghold in the Dallas area, traders said.
The Nasdaq composite index was up 1.47 to 537.77, while the American Stock Exchange index fell 0.96 to 371.67.