US stocks end mixed (Lead)

February 25th, 2012 - 2:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Feb 25 (IANS) US stocks ended narrowly mixed Friday as latest reports showed the US economy was steadily improving but was not strong enough to give equities a big lift.

The Dow Jones industrial average flirted with the key psychological level of 13,000, but failed to settle above it. The blue-chip index dipped 1.74 points, or 0.01 percent, at 12,982.95, Xinhua reported.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 2.28 points, or 0.17 percent, to 1,365.74, which was the highest close since June 2008.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 6.77 points, or 0.23 percent, to 2,963.75.

Friday’s economic data was fairly plain. According to the final reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s survey, the consumer sentiment index jumped to 75.3 in February, which was better than economists had expected and the best level in almost a year.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said new home sales declined 0.9 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted 321,000 units.

Investors will take a close watch as finance ministers of 20 major industrial countries and central bank governors meet in Mexico during the weekend, trying to promote global economic stability and growth.

On earnings front, US department-store chain J.C. Penney Co. posted a fourth-quarter loss totalling $87 million, or $0.41 a share.

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