The Nasdaq advanced on Monday as investors bought beaten-down technology stocks after a four-day selloff, but concerns about the economy after weak data kept investors wary.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Dow industrials fell modestly.
Cisco Systems Inc
Technology companies got pounded last week on fear that we are going backward in terms of growth, said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald and Co in San Francisco.
But people are starting to think that we may have over-played the panic a bit, which is helping the Nasdaq.
Technology stocks are usually considered the most growth-oriented. The Nasdaq recorded a 5 percent weekly decline, compared to a 3.8 percent decline on the S&P 500 index.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 9.69 points, or 0.09 percent, at 10,293.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 0.60 point, or 0.06 percent, at 1,078.65. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 8.13 points, or 0.37 percent, at 2,181.61.
The PHLX semiconductor index <.SOX> advanced 0.5 percent, while its relative strength index hit its lowest point since November 2008 on Friday. The RSI, which determines whether stocks are oversold or overbought, fell to 31.4, right above the oversold indicator at 30, indicating a security or index was relatively cheap.
The index also traded below its lower Bollinger band on Friday, pointing again to an oversold condition. The Bollinger is a technical measure used by traders to show the highs or lows of a price, relative to previous trades.
The market was struggling to rebound from its worst performance in six weeks. But the prospect wasn't bright as a data earlier in the day showed housing and regional manufacturing sectors remained weak.
Trading volume remains anemic as traders and portfolio managers found little reason to get excited enough to make a decision, said Scott Fullman, director of derivative investment strategy at WJB Capital Group.
U.S. homebuilder sentiment unexpectedly fell for a third straight month in August to its lowest level since March 2009, according to an industry survey.
Lowe's Cos Inc
But education companies tumbled on concerns federal regulators will impose tighter controls on student loans. Strayer Education Inc
A gauge of manufacturing in New York state was up in August, the New York Fed said, but new orders component index fell below zero for the first time since June 2009, an early sign of a slowdown.
(Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Kenneth Barry)