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Dow Closes Higher; S&P 500, Nasdaq Dip

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The major U.S. stock averages booked a mixed finish Thursday after a raft of data from both the United States and abroad put a damper on investor sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 19 points, or 0.14%, at 13,597. The blue-chip index, which began the session up close to 11% year to date, was down roughly 75 points at its session low.

Breadth within the Dow reflected the seesaw action with winners edging losers, 17 to 13. The biggest percentage gainers were Chevron (CVX), Exxon Mobil (XOM), Kraft Foods (KFT), Microsoft (MSFT), and Pfizer (PFE), all rising more than 1%.

Wal-Mart ( WMT) shares edged up 0.51% following a Reuters report that the world's largest retailer has decided to stop selling Amazon's ( AMZN) Kindle products. Amazon shares closed down 0.33%.

Leading Dow decliners included Alcoa (AA), Caterpillar (CAT), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and United Technologies (UTX).

Bank of America (BAC) shares finished down 1.1% following a report that the bank has set a target of cutting 16,000 jobs by the end of 2012 as it accelerates a broad cost-cutting plan.

The job cuts were outlined in a document given to top management, and are part of a larger effort to retool the bank into a leaner and more focused enterprise amid an environment of declining revenue, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The S&P 500 lost less than a point, or 0.05%, to settle at 1460, while the Nasdaq gave back 7 points, or 0.21%, to finish at 3176.

The weakest sectors in the broad market were transportation, consumer cyclicals, capital goods and basic materials. Health care, consumer non-cyclicals and utilities were in the green.

Decliners were ahead of advancers by a ratio of about 1.5-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq. Volume was tepid, totaling 3.39 billion on the Big Board and 1.81 billion on the Nasdaq.

The major averages are sitting near multi-year highs after the announcement of extensive quantitative easing programs by both the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve, but the global economic data released Thursday was less than encouraging.
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