Wall Street flat, but Netflix helps Nasdaq

Stocks were mostly flat in a thinly traded session on Tuesday as investors digested gains accrued last week, the best week for equities in two years, while strength in Netflix helped lift the Nasdaq.

Equities rallied for five straight days to push the S&P 500 up 5.6 percent, rebounding from weakness over the past two months. But with questions persisting over the strength of economic growth the U.S. debt ceiling, the summer could be a rough one.

“It’s no real surprise that the market is having a harder time today getting excited, given the big week we just had,” said Hayes Miller, the Boston-based head of asset allocation in North America at Baring Asset Management, which oversees about $50.6 billion.

The day’s volume was light, a trend that was also seen as enduring. The anemic action could exacerbate stocks’ gyrations in the holiday-shortened week, especially with Friday’s non-farm payrolls report looming large on the horizon. The payrolls data is expected to show tepid job creation in June. Markets were closed on Monday for the U.S. Independence Daholiday.

“Markets are in a highly volatile state right now, making this a difficult market to make a lot of progress in,” Miller said. “We’re going to go back and forth with strong weeks like last week and weak ones like what we had before that.”

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 13.96 points, or 0.11 percent, at 12,568.81. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index <.SPX> was down 1.90 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,337.77. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 7.20 points, or 0.26 percent, at 2,823.23.