The Dow drifted lower Thursday, but stayed on track for its best start to the year in more than two decades.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 23 points to 13,887 as of 11:51 a.m. The index has gained 6 percent so far this month, putting it in line for its best January performance since 1989, according to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices.
The Standard and Poor's 500 fell 3 points to 1,498. The Nasdaq composite fell a fraction to 3,141.
Stocks got a small boost after the Chicago Business Barometer for January came in at 55.6, a higher reading than analysts had forecast, according to data provider FactSet. Readings above 50 indicate that economic activity is expanding.