NEW YORK, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed mixed Wednesday for a fourth straight session, as a cluster of economic data tempered upbeat earnings results from big financials.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 23.81 points, or 0. 18 percent, to 13,511.08. The broader S&P 500 Index advanced 0.29 points, or 0.02 percent, to 1,472.63. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index went up 6.76 points, or 0.22 percent, to 3,117.54.
Wall Street went down shortly after the opening bell, as both Asian and European equity markets registered losses.
The Word Bank downgraded the global GDP growth rate Tuesday to 2.4 percent in 2013 from a June forecast of 3 percent, as it believed austerity measures, high unemployment and low business confidence would weigh on economies in developed countries.
The market gained little momentum from encouraging quarterly reports from financials because the strong results were largely priced-in heading into the reporting period.
Goldman Sachs earned a diluted 5.60 U.S. dollars per share in the fourth quarter, over three times the amount of 1.84 dollars for the fourth quarter of 2011. Shares of the investment banking giant rallied 4 percent.
JP Morgan's net income for the fourth quarter of 2012 stood at 5.69 billion dollars, compared with 3.73 billion dollars a year earlier. Earnings per share were 1.39 dollars, compared with 0.9 dollar in the fourth quarter of 2011. Shares of the bank giant inched up 1.01 percent.
On the economic front, U.S. consumer prices were flat in December, an indication that there should be room for the Federal Reserve to sustain its ultra-easy monetary police, according to data released by the U.S. Labor Department.
A separate report from the Fed showed U.S. industrial output gained 0.3 percent in December for a second straight month.
Besides, the NAHB Housing Market Index for January registered an unchanged reading of 47 from the prior month, short of market estimates.
The Beige Book, a summary of economic conditions in all 12 Fed districts, released on Wednesday afternoon by the Fed gave no surprises to investors. The overall summation indicated all 12 districts characterized growth as being either modest or moderate.
The Nasdaq outperformed in the three stock indices, staying in green territory for most of the session, as heavyweight Apple rebounded by 4.15 percent after a third drop in a row.
However, the Dow was weighed down by Boeing which slid 3.38 percent after two Japanese carriers suspended flights of the Dreamliner 787.
After the closing bell, EBay reported it earned 927 million dollars, or 70 cents a share in fourth quarter, up 16.7 percent from a year earlier. The operator of one of the world's largest online marketplaces edged up slightly in after hours trading.
On the earnings front, financials will again be in focus Thursday with Bank of America and Citigroup scheduled to post results on the same day.
Light, sweet crude for February delivery on Wednesday added 1. 03 percent to settle at 94.24 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as U.S. oil inventories declined last week. While Brent crude for February delivery was up 0.28 percent to close at 110.61 dollars a barrel.
The U.S. dollar rose moderately against most major currencies on Wednesday as U.S. inflation data did little to move the market.
Gold for February delivery on the COMEX fell for the first time this week, down 0.04 percent to settle at 1683.2 per ounce.