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Stock prices gyrate amid mixed economic signals

April 19, 2012|By Walter Hamilton
  • Traders gather at a post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Traders gather at a post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Dario Cantatore / Associated…)

The stock market is fluctuating between positive and negative territory today in the face of mixed economic signals that raise the specter of ebbing U.S growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average is keeping a fragile hold on 13,000, declining 27.48 points, or 0.2%, to 13,005.27. The Standard & Poor’s 500 is down 0.2%, while the Nasdaq composite index is down fractionally.

Stocks have been hurt by discouraging reports on the job and housing markets, and by more worrisome news on the European debt crisis.

But investors are also seeing strong corporate earnings and a generally upbeat report on leading economic indicators.

The jobs report, which showed a higher-than-expected number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment claims, raised the prospect that the U.S. economy is cooling off after a period of stronger growth in the last six months.

Developments in Europe also weighed on stocks. Yields on 10-year Spanish bonds rose at a debt auction, another sign that Europe’s efforts thus far to corral its sovereign-debt problems may be falling short.

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