NOT A TRADER WAS STIRRING: The stock market was quiet and indecisive Thursday, with no major news to direct traders one way or the other. The indexes flickered between small gains and losses before closing mixed.

MADE IN AMERICA: The government reported that the U.S. trade deficit fell to its lowest level in 18 months, as the U.S. enjoyed lower prices for the oil it brought in and higher sales of the vehicles, pharmaceuticals and industrial machinery it shipped out.

NEXT SHOE TO DROP?: China, the world's second-largest economy, reported slowing growth in auto sales and factory output. That's worrisome because China has fueled the world economy in recent years even as other countries have stumbled.