Dow average ekes out an eighth consecutive gain, logging longest winning streak in 2 years

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Dow is logging its longest winning streak in two years — barely.

A tiny gain gave the Dow Jones industrial average its eighth straight increase Tuesday, long enough to match its longest series of gains since February 2011.

The Dow ended up two points at 14,450. The index wavered between small gains and losses for most of the day.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell three points to 1,552. The Nasdaq composite dropped 10 points to 3,242.

Merck was the biggest gainer in the Dow after the drug maker said a data safety monitoring board recommended that a study of its cholesterol drug Vytorin should continue.

Three stocks fell for every two that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was light at 3.1 billion shares.