U.S. stocks flat on data, commodities

07:19, December 31, 2009      

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U.S. stocks closed basically flat after fluctuating in a narrow range on Wednesday, as upbeat manufacturing data helped to offset a drag in commodities and financials.

Energy companies dragged the market down on Wednesday as investors weigh a mixed oil inventory report. U.S. Energy Department reported a fourth straight week decrease in crude supplies, but slightly less than analysts' forecasts. However, the industry group American Petroleum Institute reported a 1.7-million-barrel increase in oil stockpiles after market closed on Tuesday.

Dollar rose against both euro and yen, pressuring on commodities prices and affecting companies with overseas business. Gold futures prices fell, sending materials sector down.

Financials were among the weakest performers as GMAC is reported to request another 3.5 billion U.S. dollars government aid. The financial arm of automaker General Motors Co. is 35 percent owned by the U.S. government after receiving 12.5 billion dollars of tax payers' money.

But upbeat economic data helped to pare losses. The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index rose to 60 in December from 56.1 in November, showing improvement in production and employment.

The Dow Jones inched up 3.1, or 0.03 percent, to 10,548.51. Broader indexes also edged up. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 0.23, or 0.02 percent, to 1,126.42 and the Nasdaq rose 2.88, or 0.13 percent, to 2,291.28.

Source: Xinhua
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