U.S. stocks halt losing streak

08:42, August 17, 2010      

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The U.S. stocks closed slightly up after fluctuating throughout the session on Monday, as a slowing Japanese economic growth and weak U.S. economic data weighed on the market.

Stocks opened lower after Japan reported that its economy grew at only 0.1 percent in the second quarter this year, much lower than the 1.2-percent growth in the first quarter and falling short of market expectations.

Japan's data became the latest sign that the global economic rebound was losing steam, adding to concerns about a weakening global recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 1.14 points, or 0.01 percent, to 10,302.01. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 0.13 point, or 0.01 percent, to 1,079.38 and the Nasdaq gained 8.39 points, or 0.39 percent, to 2,181.87.

Last week, signs that both the U.S. and Chinese economies are not growing as fast as earlier in the year sent the stocks tumbling for four straight trading days. Both Dow and S&P ended the week more than 3 percent lower, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost a dramatic 5 percent.

Further pressuring the market was a disappointing housing market report. The National Association of Home Builders said its monthly index of builders' sentiment fell in August for the third straight month.

The shares recovered early losses after the New York Federal Reserve reported an improvement in the regional manufacturing activities. The NY Fed's Empire State manufacturing index rebounded from 5.1 in July to 7.1 in August.

However, the modest gain did not meet analysts' forecast, and signaled a slowing recovery in the manufacturing industry.

In earnings, Lowe's Cos. reported an increase in both quarterly profit and revenue, but still fell short of forecasts. The home- improvement retailer also lowered its full-year revenue forecast.

Concerns of weak energy demand due to sluggish economic data offset a weakening dollar, and sent oil prices down.

Crude futures fell 15 cents to settle at 75.24 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude fell 26 cents to 74.85 dollars a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.

The dollar fell against a basket of major currencies on Monday after gaining strongly last week. In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.2809 dollars from 1.2775 late Friday, and the British pound gained to 1.5632 dollars from 1.5588.

In other trading, the dollar fell to 85.32 yen from 86.24, fell to 1.0400 Swiss francs from 1.0539, and retreated to 1.0446 Canadian dollars from 1.0424 late Friday.



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