An early gain for US stock market fades away

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Associated Press

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 28 at 3:33 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks gave up an early gain and turned slightly lower in afternoon trading Friday, a day after the Standard & Poor's 500 index closed at its highest level in six weeks and notched a record high.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was down a point, less than 0.1 percent, at 1,852 as of 3:15 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,261. The Dow had been up 126 points earlier. The Nasdaq composite fell 36 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,282.

SLOWER GROWTH: The U.S. economy grew at a 2.4 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter, significantly slower than first thought, the government reported Friday. The Commerce Department had estimated that the economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the period. The reduced growth reflected slower-than-expected consumer spending.

EARNINGS JOLT: Monster Beverage jumped 5 percent, the most in the S&P 500 index, after the company reported higher sales of its energy drinks in the fourth quarter. The gains came despite legal attacks alleging the company's products pose health risks.

WARM SPOT: Manufacturing in the Chicago area rose in February, more than economists had forecast. The Institute for Supply Management's regional index for the Midwest rose to 59.8 from 59.6 in January. Economists had expected a decline because winter storms have hit much of the U.S. the past several weeks.

PLAYING HARD TO GET: The drama between men's clothiers Jos. A. Bank and Men's Wearhouse continued. Jos. A. Bank rejected the $1.78 billion offer by Men's Wearhouse, but said it's willing to meet with Men's Wearhouse to discuss a higher offer. Jos. A. Bank rose $1.84, or 3 percent, to $62.14 and Men's Wearhouse rose $3.59, or 7 percent, to $54.01.

REBOUND FEBRUARY: After a 3.6 percent loss in January, the S&P 500 is up 4 percent this month, its best since October 2013. The index closed at an all-time high of 1,854.29 on Thursday. It's up just 0.1 percent for the year.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note increased to 2.65 percent from 2.64 percent late Thursday. Crude oil rose 19 cents to $102.59 a barrel and gold decreased $10.20 to $1,321.60 an ounce.

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