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US stocks mostly lower

Jan 29 2013 07:37 AFP

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New York - Stocks finished on Monday mostly lower despite a stronger-than-expected manufactured durable goods report and a nearly 2% lift from Caterpillar earnings.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 14.05 points to 13,881.93.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 2.78 points to 1,500.18.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 4.59 to 3,154.30, boosted by Apple.

Orders for manufactured durable goods rose to $230.7bn, up 4.6% from November, the Commerce Department said. Analysts had expected a rise of just 1.6%.

But December pending home sales, which were projected to be flat, instead fell by 4.3%.

Monday's lackluster equity action came on the heels of rallies that have lifted stock indices to multi-year highs.

Slumping technology company Apple reversed recent losses and picked up 2.3%, replacing ExxonMobil as the world's largest company by market capitalisation. ExxonMobil fell 0.7%.

Yahoo!, which reported stronger-than-expected earnings after the market closed, fell 0.3%, but jumped 4.5% in after-hours trading.

Caterpillar gained 2% after posting a big year-on-year drop in quarterly profit but suggesting business could pick up in the second half of 2013.

Energy company Hess surged 6.1% after it announced it was selling refining and terminal operations in the United States and placing more focus on exploration and production.

Research in Motion, which will launch its newest BlackBerry smartphone this week, gave up 7.8%.

Industrial coatings maker PPG lost 2.0% after the closing of the share-exchange period related to the merger of its commodity chemicals business with Georgia Gulf Corp, to become the PPG spinoff Axiall. Georgia Gulf gained 8.6%.

Menswear retailer Jos. A. Bank dived 15.1% after warning that its fiscal 2012 profit was expected to be 20% lower than the prior year, citing lower sales due to unseasonably warm winter weather.

Animal goods retailer PetSmart lost 9.1% following a downgrade by Nomura Securities.

Bond prices continued to fall. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 1.97% from 1.95% late on Friday, while the yield on the 30-year bond increased to 3.15% from 3.13%. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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