Stock benchmarks finished little changed after a worse-than-expected report on manufacturing in the Philadelphia region this month wiped out earlier gains.
Delta Air Lines shares rose after an analyst said the stock may almost double if the company comes to an agreement with its pilots. Navistar International, the world's fourth-largest truckmaker, slumped after the company said profit will fall short of estimates.
Benchmarks reached their 2004 lows Monday as climbing oil prices and the prospect of higher borrowing costs sparked concerns the economy may slow. On Thursday, Federal Reserve Governor Ben Bernanke said the central bank may vary from a "measured" pace of interest-rate increases.
"We have higher energy prices; we're going to have a rise in interest rates," said Robert Loest, chief executive of IPS Advisory, which has $100 million in assets in Knoxville, Tenn. "That's not going to feed investors' good mood."
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 0.51, or 0.1 percent, to 1089.19. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 0.07, to 9937.64, the smallest change since Dec. 24, 2001, when the benchmark was unchanged. The Nasdaq composite index fell 1.58, or 0.1 percent, to 1896.59.
The benchmarks pared their gains in the last 15 minutes of trading after Bernanke spoke at a luncheon in Seattle. He said the Fed's pledge on May 4 to raise interest rates at a "measured" pace is "not an unconditional commitment."
The Fed Bank of Philadelphia said its general economic index in May fell to 23.8 from 32.5 in April. Economists had expected a reading of 30.5, based on a Bloomberg News survey.
Delta, the third-largest U.S. carrier, rose 82 cents, to $5.99. The 16 percent gain was the biggest in the S&P 500. Navistar plunged $6.25, to $33.96. The 16 percent drop was the steepest in the S&P 500.
Synopsys rose $2.95, or 12 percent, to $28.27. The maker of software to design computer chips said it expects profit in the current quarter, excluding certain costs, to be 35 cents to 40 cents a share, exceeding the average analyst estimate of 34 cents.
Pharmion surged $12.91, or 48 percent, to $39.91. The company said its Vidaza drug to treat a cancer-like bone-marrow illness was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
* The New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 10.04, to 6277.12; the American Stock Exchange index fell 0.56, to 1171.19; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 0.11, to 540.75.
* Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 7 to 5 on the NYSE, where trading volume fell to 1.2 billion shares, from 1.54 billion on Wednesday. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, decliners outnumbered advancers by 4 to 3 and volume totaled 1.52 billion, down from 1.8 billion.
* The price of the Treasury's 10-year note rose $5.00 per $1,000 invested, and its yield fell to 4.71 percent, from 4.77 percent on Wednesday.
* The dollar rose against the Japanese yen and the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 112.85 yen, up from 112.62 late Wednesday, and a euro bought $1.1930, down from $1.2019.
* Light, sweet crude oil for June delivery settled at $40.92, down 58 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
* Gold for current delivery fell to $378.40 a troy ounce, from $382.90 on Wednesday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.