Retailers were in the spotlight Thursday. Bed Bath & Beyond and Family Dollar plunged after cutting their earnings forecasts following a disappointing holiday season. Macy's surged after saying it would cut 2,500 jobs.
The Standard & Poor's 500 inched up less than a point to finish at 1,838. The index had only its second gain out of the six days of trading in 2014. The index is still just 10 points below the most recent record high it set on Dec. 31.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 18 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 16,444. The Nasdaq composite lost nine points, or 0.2 per cent, to 4,156.
Ford rose 2 per cent after announcing a dividend increase.