The blue chip stock index traded above 12,000 for most of the day Wednesday but fell in late afternoon trading. It finished with a modest gain.
Weak profit forecasts from Boeing Co. kept the Dow from posting bigger gains. The company fell 3 percent.
At the market close, the Dow is up 8 points, or 0.1 percent, to 11,985.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index is up 5, or 0.4 percent, to 1,297. The Nasdaq composite is up 20, or 0.7 percent, to 2,740.
Two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume came to 1.2 billion shares.