A seven-day rally in US stocks loses steam

KEN SWEET
Associated Press
FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, file photo, traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York. World stock markets were muted Thursday Sept. 12, 2013 as investors kept their guard up ahead of the release of U.S. retail sales data and next week's Federal Reserve policy meeting. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were flat in early trading Thursday, a sign that traders may be pausing after the market's longest rally since July.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up less than a point to 15,326 in the first 15 minutes of trading. The blue chip index has added more than 400 points since Monday and the index is up nearly 3.5 percent just this month. With the last three days of gains, the Dow has recovered the bulk of its losses in August, which was the worst month for the Dow since May 2012.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,687. The S&P has risen for the past seven days. The Nasdaq composite, which was down sharply Wednesday due to a big sell-off in Apple, fell four points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,721.

Traders continue to watch developments in Syria. Syrian President Bashar Assad said Thursday his government has agreed to surrender its chemical weapons in response to Russia's initiative, not because of the threat of an attack from the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov are set to sit down together to discuss details of the plan in Geneva later Thursday.

In corporate news, shares of athletic apparel maker Lululemon dropped after the company trimmed its full-year sales and profit outlook, due in part to a product recall the company experienced earlier this year. Lululemon lost $4.92, or 7.3 percent, to $63.98.

Online radio company Pandora Media was up $2.10, or 10 percent, to $23.47. The company said late Wednesday it was appointing former Microsoft executive Brian McAndrews as its new chief executive officer.

Men's Wearhouse was also struggling Thursday after the company also cut its full-year profit forecast. The stock fell $3.22, or 8.3 percent, to $35.55.