Stocks are flipping between slight gains and losses in midday trading.
Hewlett-Packard jumped 4 percent, leading the Dow Jones industrial average Thursday. The personal computer maker plans to purge 27,000 employees, nearly 8 percent of the company's payroll. H-P expects the layoffs, part of a turnaround program under CEO Meg Whitman, to save $3 billion or more.
The Dow is up three points at 12,497 shortly before noon Eastern.
Economic news offered little direction. Orders for long-lasting factory goods edged up slightly in April while the number of people applying for unemployment benefits dipped last week.
The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 1 point to 1,318. The Nasdaq fell 12 to 2,838.
European leaders concluded a summit Thursday with no concrete steps to fix the continent's financial crisis.