Sat, March 17, 2012
Business > Markets

U.S. stocks end strong week with pause

2012-03-16 22:14:52 GMT2012-03-17 06:14:52(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

NEW YORK, March 16 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. stocks ended mixed after seesawing around breakeven line on Friday, ending an electrifying week on muted note, as investors found little reason to push stocks even higher amid lackluster economic data.

The Dow Jones industrial average snapped a seven-day winning streak, its longest since February 2011 and slipped 20.14 points, or 0.24 percent, to end the week at 13,232.62. The Standard & Poor 's 500 was up 1.57 points, or 0.11 percent, to 1,404.17. The Nasdaq Composite Index edged down 1.11 points, or 0.04 percent, to 3,055.26.

Friday's economic reports came in mixed. According to the U.S. Labor Department, the consumer price index increased 0.4 percent in February as oil prices jumped, in line with previous expectations.

Meanwhile, industrial production remained unchanged in February, which missed economists' expectation of a 0.4 percent increase.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of consumer sentiment for March, which is closely watched by investors, fell to 74.3 in early March from 75.3 in February, also short of market estimates.

Despite Friday's losses, the three major indexes were all still up more than 2 percent for the week. The S&P 500, a broader index to indicate the market trend, closed out its best week in three months,

Among stocks in focus, Apple ended flat at 585.57 on the day its new generation of IPad hits the store.

The U.S. dollar fell against most major currencies in late New York trading while oil surged on weak dollar and market attention returned to continuing tension between Iran and the West.

Iran tension came back to the market after the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication cut its ties with Iranian banks on Thursday. Investors worried that the isolation would make Iran's oil sales more difficult. Risks of supplies disruption were bullish to crude prices.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery gained 1.95 dollars, or 1. 86 percent to settle at 107.06 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For this week, it was down 34 cents, or 0.32 percent.

In London, Brent crude for May delivery soared 3.21 dollars, or 2.62 percent to close at 125.81 dollars a barrel. For this week, it slipped 17 cents.

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