* 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 (Reuters) - 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 infrastructure spending.
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, at 2,260.74.
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 store operator.
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 D‘Silva)