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Wall Street ends mixed as investors digest data, earnings

English.news.cn   2014-01-18 06:47:33

NEW YORK, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed in mixed territory after narrowly fluctuating trading Friday, amid a bunch of mixed economic data and earnings reports from notable corporations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 41.55 points, or 0.25 percent, to 16,458.56. The S&P 500 lost 7.19 points, or 0.39 percent, to 1,838.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 21.11 points, or 0.50 percent, to 4,197.58.

For the week, the Dow and the Nasdaq increased 0.1 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. The S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent.

Wall Street has been consolidating at the start of the New Year following a stellar year in 2013, as a series of data released recently generally pointed to a strengthening U.S. economic growth.

The Commerce Department said Friday that U.S. housing starts fell 9.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 999,000 units, was the largest drop since April 2013. However, the figure was moderately higher than the market consensus.

Meanwhile, data from the Federal Reserve showed that U.S. industrial production climbed 0.3 percent in December after a revised 1 percent increase in November, in line with market forecasts.

Additionally, the Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index unexpectedly dropped slightly in January, declining to 80.4 from 82.5 in the preceding month.

On corporate earnings, Morgan Stanley reported Friday a profit of 181 million U.S. dollars for the fourth quarter of 2013, 70 percent down from a year earlier, mainly due to large legal expenses and weak fixed-income business.

However, excluding legal charges and other items, the company's earnings was 50 cents per share, still higher than the previously predicted 45 cents polled by Thomson Reuters. Following the release of its earnings result, the investment bank's shares jumped 4.38 percent to 33.40 dollars.

Intel shares tumbled 2.60 percent to 25.85 dollars, a damper on the major indices, after the semiconductor maker reported its worse-than-expected fourth quarter earnings shortly after Thursday 's closing bell.

The U.S. equity market was also under pressure when Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said Friday he anticipated a further reduction of 10 billion dollars in the Fed's quantitative easing to be on the table in the next policy meeting on January 28-29 following its initial tapering decision in December.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, decreased 0.72 percent to 12.44.

In other markets, oil prices rose slightly on Friday. Light, sweet crude for February delivery moved up 41 cents at 94.37 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for March delivery gained 73 cents to 106.48 dollars a barrel.

Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange jumped to a five-week high on Friday, with the most active gold contract for February delivery up 11.7 dollars to settle at 1,251.9 dollars per ounce.

The U.S. dollar rose against most major currencies Friday amid a batch of mixed economic data from the United States.

In late New York trading, the euro lost to 1.3529 dollars from 1.3614 dollars of the previous session, and the British pound increased to 1.6420 dollars from 1.6359 dollars.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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