* Dow on track for seventh straight weekly gain
* Nov. home sales at highest level in four months
* Fred's higher after Alden Global Capital reports stake
* Dow down 0.04 pct, S&P flat, Nasdaq up 0.06 pct
(Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal
Dec 23 Wall Street was lower in afternoon
trading on Friday as investors held back from making big bets
ahead of the holiday season, but the three major indexes were
still on track to post weekly gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which came within striking
distance of the historic 20,000 mark earlier this week, looked
set to record its seventh straight weekly gains.
"There's really nothing to move the market one way or
another," said Mohannad Aama, managing director at Beam Capital
Management in New York.
"We are in a holding pattern after the Trump rally and
there's nothing really to factor in until 2017. Investors are
closing the books for the year."
Following a sharp rally since the Nov. 8 U.S. election, the
Dow is up about 14 percent for the year and the S&P 500 is 11
percent higher on bets that the economy will benefit from
President-elect Donald Trump's plans for deregulation and
U.S. markets are shut for the Christmas holiday on Monday.
At 12:40 p.m. ET (1740 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average
was down 7.39 points, or 0.04 percent, at 19,911.49.
The S&P 500 was down 0.22 points, or 0.009 percent,
The Nasdaq Composite was up 3.41 points, or 0.06
percent, at 5,450.83.
Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, although
losses were modest. The consumer discretionary index's
0.22 percent fall lead the decliners.
The health index rose 0.61 percent, boosted by
Allergan's 1.81 percent gain.
Economic data showed new single-family home sales rose to
their highest levels in four months in November, with sales
increasing 5.2 percent to 592,000 last month.
Fred's rose 3.9 percent to $20.14 after Alden
Global Capital reported a stake of 24.8 percent in the discount
Cintas fell 3.6 percent to $115.73 after the
uniforms supplier cut the lower end of its revenue forecast.
Synergy Pharmaceuticals jumped 10.7 percent to
$5.24 after the drug developer said data showed its irritable
bowel syndrome treatment met the main goal.
While stocks will trade for the full day, the U.S. bond
market will close at 2 p.m. ET.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,515
to 1,307. On the Nasdaq, 1,642 issues rose and 1,093 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed six new 52-week highs and one new
low, while the Nasdaq recorded 48 new highs and 27 new lows.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil