NEW YORK, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. stocks closed mixed on Wednesday, bringing Dow Jones Industrial Average below the key psychological level of 14,000, as investors took a breather after the markets continued to rise in over a month.
In his State of the Union address late Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the country would launch a free-trade negotiation with the European Union.
The president also called for investing 50 billion dollars in infrastructure and raising the minimum wage.
"The market reaction today is pretty muted to the president's address last night. I don't think that we heard anything new in the State of the Union," Gregory J. Keating, managing director of James E. Coffey Securities Inc in New York, told Xinhua in a telephone interview.
"Stocks aren't expected to react much to President Obama's State of the Union speech, as many of his proposals aren't seen getting through the House, while he did little to indicate that a deal is near to avert looming automatic spending cuts," Benedict P. Willis III, managing director of Albert Fried & Company, LLC in New York, told Xinhua via email.
On the economic front, U.S. retail sales rose 0.1 percent in January, compared with an increase of 0.5 percent in the previous month, as payroll tax hikes exerted negative influence on consumers' purchasing will, Commerce Department figures showed Tuesday.
Shares of Comcast leapt 2.98 percent to 40.13 dollars a day after the company said it had agreed to acquire General Electric's remaining 49 percent stake in NBCUniversal for about 16.7 billion dollars.
GE's shares, a Dow component, also surged 3.59 percent to 23.39 dollars on the news, but failed to push the Dow into positive territory.
Deere shares dropped 3.50 percent to 90.68 dollars though the heavy machinery maker beat market on quarterly earnings.
Wall Street seems to be losing momentum after having registered impressive gains since the beginning of 2013, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index to over-five-year highs.
"Most people are expecting a correction of some sort. I think we will see some short-term correction because the market is poaching all-time highs. Later the market will continue to go up as the economic indicators remain somewhat positive," Keating commented.
Echoing a similar view, Willis said: "For a healthy market, the stocks need some sort of corrections after continuing rises. I hope the market to go down in the near term, so that it can provide opportunities for investors to buy and push the market to climb higher later."
The Dow dipped 36.10 points, or 0.26 percent, to 13,982.60. The S&P 500 inched up 0.90 points, or 0.06 percent, to 1,520.33. The Nasdaq Composite index rallied 10.39 points, or 0.33 percent, to 3, 196.88.
The U.S. dollar was little changed against major currencies on Wednesday as investors stayed cautious ahead of the Group of Twenty summit.
U.S. crude oil price dipped on Wednesday as crude inventories in the world's largest oil consumer increased, while Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had reportedly agreed on "some points" during talks in Tehran.
Light, sweet crude for March delivery lost 50 cents, or 0.51 percent to settle at 97.01 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
However, Brent crude for March delivery slightly added 6 cents, or 0.05 percent to finish at 118.72 dollars a barrel, boosted by strong equity markets in Europe.
Gold future for April delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 0.27 percent to settle at 1,645.1 dollars per ounce on Wednesday.