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U.S. Stocks End Week on Down Notes
Mar 5,2012 09:05CST
data analysis
U.S. stocks ended lower on Friday as the market took a breather in the absence of positive economic data.

NEW YORK, Mar. 3 -- U.S. stocks ended lower on Friday as the market took a breather in the absence of positive economic data.

The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 2.73 points, or 0.02 percent, at 12,977.57. The Standard & Poor's 500 was down 4.46 points, or 0.32 percent, to 1,369.63. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 12.78 points, or 0.43 percent, to 2,976.19.

For the week, the S&P 500 advanced 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq gained 0.4 percent, their eighth weekly gains in the last nine. But the Dow ended the week just a bit lower, edging down 0.05 percent.

With no major economic news providing directions, investors kept a close watch on the latest development in Europe.

The leaders of 25 European countries on Friday signed a new treaty designed to avoid a repeat of the euro zone's debt crisis.

The treaty is the latest response by Europe's leaders to contain the continent's two-year debt crisis and a step closer to a more unified fiscal union, but Britain and the Czech Republic declined to be part of it.

Investors, on the other hand, were little impressed by the latest development in the region as they believed that euro zone policy makers lost their credits because of their low efficiency. Meanwhile, the market also worried more austerity will hurt the region's faltering recovery.

Hours after the treaty's signing, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his government would hit 5.8 percent of its economic output this year and would fail to meet its deficit goal.

Among stocks in focus, consumer review website Yelp's shares soared nearly 64 percent on their market debut on Friday, as investors rushed to buy a piece of the growing local advertising market.

In other markets, the U.S. dollar rose against major currencies in late New York trading on Friday as European economic news worried investors and weighed down the euro.

While crude prices tumbled after recent spikes as fears of Saudi Arabian supplies disruption eased.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery dropped 2.14 dollars, or 1.97 percent, to settle at 106.70 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, ending the week with a loss of 3.07 dollars, or 2.80 percent. It was the first weekly loss since Feb. 3.

In London, Brent crude for April delivery also fell sharply by 2.55 dollars, or 2.02 percent, to finish at 123.65 dollars a barrel. For this week, it decreased 1.82 dollars, or 1.45 percent.


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