Stocks fluctuated early Friday as investors avoided making any big bets before the latest report that could provide a glimpse into the health of the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1 point in early morning trading. It has rallied over the past two weeks, rising six of the past seven days.
Domestic economic reports during that stretch have topped modest forecasts, sending stocks higher. While the economy is not robust by any measure, beating economists' estimates has reduced worries about the economy falling back into recession.
A report due out later Friday is expected to show wholesale inventories and sales rose in July, adding to the signs of continued expansion. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters forecast wholesale inventories rose 0.4 percent in July. Sales likely grew 0.3 percent, snapping two straight months of declines. The Commerce Department report is due out at 10 a.m. EDT.
Wholesalers don't typically stock up on more goods unless there is an expectation that retail sales will pick up in the coming months, so Friday's report could be a good indicator that retail sales might improve soon. Shoppers have cut back on their spending recently because of job worries.
The market's September rally paused only once when concerns about the health of European banks burdened by government debt resurfaced. European markets fluctuated Friday after a report that German banking giant Deutsche Bank AG is considering raising new cash through a stock sale. The report came out Thursday afternoon, so U.S. markets already had a chance to react to the news.
The Dow fell 1.06, or less than 0.1 percent, to 10,413.72 in early morning trading.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.56, or 0.1 percent, to 1,104.74, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 0.86, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,235.34.
Volume will likely remain light Friday because of the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah. Low volume can exaggerate market movements.
Britain's FTSE 100 rose less than 0.1 percent, Germany's DAX dropped 0.3 percent, and France's CAC-40 fell less than 0.1 percent.
Bond prices dipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 2.80 percent from 2.76 percent late Thursday. Its yield is used to help set interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans.