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Wall Street turns lower but ends week positive

English.news.cn   2014-03-22 04:05:09

NEW YORK, March 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks reversed earlier gains to close lower Friday but still wrapped up the week higher, as investors grew cautious and took profits in the afternoon trading session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 28.28 points, or 0.17 percent, to 16,302.77. The S&P 500 decreased 5.49 points, or 0.29 percent, to 1,866.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index slumped 42.50 points, or 0.98 percent, to 4,276.79.

The major indices lost steam in the afternoon trading session as investors tended to lock in gains ahead of weekend over lingering uncertainties in Ukraine.

Shortly after the opening bell, the broader S&P 500 hit a record intraday high of 1,883.97 points, eclipsing the previous intraday high of 1,883.57 points set on March 7.

Traders also attributed rising market volatility partly to the so-called "quadruple witching" when future and option contracts on indexes and stocks expire.

For the week, the Dow, the S&P and the Nasdaq were up 1.5 percent, 1.4 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

In absence of major economic data in the day, the market initially moved higher as investors continued to digest generally positive economic data from the world's largest economy the previous day.

Adding to earlier market optimism, Fitch Ratings said Friday that it has affirmed the U.S. long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings at "AAA" with stable outlook.

Fitch said this rating action resolved the "rating watch negative" placed on Oct. 15 last year as U.S. lawmakers were battling over the federal budget and over raising the debt ceiling.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, increased 3.31 percent to end at 15.00 Friday.

In other markets, oil prices rose Friday on increasing fears over a disruption in crude supplies to Europe following the expansion of U.S. sanctions against Russia.

Light, sweet crude for May delivery moved up 56 cents to settle at 99.46 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for May delivery gained 47 cents to close at 106. 92 dollars a barrel.

Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange snapped a four-session losing streak Friday, with the most active gold contract for April delivery up 5.5 dollars to settle at 1,336.0 dollars per ounce.

The U.S. dollar retreated against most major currencies Friday as investors weighed the Federal Reserve monetary policy against U. S. economic prospects.

In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.3795 dollars from 1.3780 dollars in the previous session. The dollar bought 102.22 Japanese yen, lower than 102.47 yen of the previous session.

Editor: chengyang
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