Stocks are slightly higher in midday trading, giving back most of an early gain, as economic reports gave investors a mixed picture on the outlook for growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 18 points at 13,408 shortly before noon Thursday. It has been up as much as 54 points in early trading.
The Standard & Poor's 500 added two points to 1,463, after rising as much as eight. The Nasdaq composite fell two points to 3,104.
The Labor Department said unemployment applications rose 4,000 to 371,000, the most in five weeks.
Supervalu jumped 11 percent after announcing that it had reached a $3.3 billion deal to sell its five of its biggest grocery chains to an investor group led by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.