HP LEADS: Hewlett-Packard helped pull the Dow Jones industrial average to a slight gain Thursday, giving the index only its fourth gain this month.

PINK SLIPS FOR PROFITS: Hewlett-Packard rose 3 percent after the maker of personal computers and printers said it plans to purge 27,000 employees, nearly 8 percent of the company's payroll. H-P expects the layoffs to save $3 billion or more.

NO HELP FROM EUROPE: Stocks flipped between gains and losses throughout the day after a meeting of European leaders failed to deliver new steps to ease the region's debt crisis.