* MEMC shares rally after results
* Dean Foods to spin off unit, shares jump
* BoE cuts Britain's growth forecast
* France heading for recession in Q3
* Dow 0.1 up pct, S&P up 0.06 pct, Nasdaq flat
By Anna Louie Sussman
NEW YORK, Aug 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed
on Wednesday in light trading, as there were few signals to push
shares in either direction one day after the benchmark S&P 500
closed above 1,400 for the first time in more than three months.
Expectations for action from the European Central Bank and
U.S. Federal Reserve triggered a recent rally in equities, with
the S&P 500 up for five consecutive weeks. Economic data still
points to lackluster demand worldwide, and European central
banks are projecting poor growth for coming quarters.
"There's been a little bit of pullback, a little bit of
profit-taking, but we don't really see a lot of action. There's
not a lot of activity because of lack of economic numbers. You
just don't see a lot of information to push through these
resistance levels," said Stephen Carl, principal and head of
U.S. Equity Trading at the Williams Capital Group LP.
Shares of Dean Foods, which is spinning off a unit,
jumped 36.9 percent to $17.00 a day after the U.S. dairy company
posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit.
The consumer discretionary sector was down 0.4 percent as
fashion juggernaut Ralph Lauren and travel website
Priceline both forecast slowing demand due to the
global slowdown. Ralph Lauren shares fell 2.1 percent to
$149.84. Priceline's stock plummeted 15.9 percent to $571.95.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 12.90 points,
or 0.10 percent, at 13,181.50. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 0.88 points, or 0.06 percent, to 1,402.23. The
Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.02 points, or 0.00
percent, to 3,015.84.
The Bank of England gave little indication that it would
rush to pour in further stimulus even as it sharply cut its
forecast for medium-term economic growth in Britain.
France's central bank forecast a contraction in
growth going into the third quarter, citing weak demand from the
periphery and Britain.
Spanish benchmark 10-year yields briefly rose
above 7 percent, underscoring the cautious tone from investors
recently disappointed by lack of coordination from European
officials in their efforts to reignite the economy.
Markets are pricing in the idea that it may take time until
Spain asks for a bailout, which would open the door for ECB
Shares of MEMC Electronic Materials Inc rallied 16.5
percent to $2.40 after the silicon wafer maker reported a
surprise quarterly profit on an adjusted basis.
Williams Partners shares dropped 4.2 percent to
$50.84 after the energy infrastructure company announced the
offering of 8.5 million common units.