Dec. 13, 2012 at 10:16 AM ET
Stocks are trading slightly higher in early trading on Wall Street as investors' enthusiasm over new economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve fades.
The Dow Jones industrial average edged up about 11 points to 13,256 shortly after the opening bell Thursday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up about one point at 1,429. The Nasdaq composite gained five points to 3,018.
Stocks had rallied Wednesday afternoon after the Fed announced more plans to buy bonds to support the economy. By the end of the day the gains were mostly gone.
Best Buy jumped 15 percent to $14 a share after a newspaper reported that the founder of the troubled electronics chain will make a bid of up to $6 billion for the company by the end of the week.
Applications for unemployment benefits fell 29,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 343,000, the Labor Department said Thursday, the second-lowest total this year.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell 27,000 to 381,500.
The data on declining unemployment applications, which suggests that companies are cutting fewer jobs, comes after the Federal Reserve for the first time ever tied its interest rate policy to unemployment as it aggressively attacks joblessness in the U.S.
The Fed said Wednesday that it will keep its key short-term interest rate near zero at least until the unemployment rate drops below 6.5 percent and inflation rises to 2.5 percent.
The Labor Department also reported Thursday that wholesale prices declined for a second straight month in November, led by cheap gasoline.
In the past year, wholesale prices have increased 1.5 percent. That's the lowest annual pace in four months.
That can lead to more consumer spending, which drives about 70 percent of the economy, and the government on Thursday reported an uptick in retail sales for November.
Americans spent more on everything from cars to building supplies. Yet one troubling aspect of the report was a decline in the money consumers spent at department stores.
That is bad news at the start of the holiday shopping season, but the Commerce Department said that sales for non-store retailers, including online shopping, rose 3 percent.
© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.