U.S. stocks trimmed losses to close little changed on Friday, as investors saw dips in the market as an opportunity to buy into what has been a strong first month of 2012.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its first weekly loss this year, hurt Friday as the Chevron Corp. announced earnings that were below Wall Street's estimates and the Procter & Gamble Co. cut its full-year profit forecast because of the strong dollar.
But the emergence of late-day buyers was viewed positively as major averages have methodically climbed through January. This week's news that the U.S. Federal Reserve intends to keep interest rates low through late 2014 added a jolt of demand that could extend the rally.
Investors are almost welcoming these little dips, jumping in when they can to join this rally. At this point, they are rationalizing anything they can to get in, said James Dailey at TEAM Financial Management LLC in Harrisburg, Pa.
Cautious bulls are no longer cautious after the Fed announcement this week.
Chevron, the No. 2 U.S. oil company, fell 2.5 percent to $103.96 and was the biggest drag on the Dow.
The U.S. Commerce Department said the nation's gross domestic product expanded at its fastest pace in six quarters in the last quarter of 2011, but the 2.8 percent rise fell short of expectations.
Inventory building accounted for much of the growth, and weak spending by businesses in the GDP report pointed to a slower pace of recovery early this year, denting recent optimism about the economy.
In company news, Facebook plans to file documents as early as Wednesday for a highly anticipated initial public offering that will value the world's largest social network at between $75 billion and $100 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited unidentified sources.
For the day, the Dow was down 74.17 points, or 0.58 percent, at 12,660.46, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 2.11 points, or 0.16 percent, at 1,316.32, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 11.27 points, or 0.40 percent, at 2,816.55.
For the week, the Dow fell 0.5 percent, the S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent, and the Nasdaq rose 1.1 percent.
Friday's losses were limited as the Federal Reserve statements this week and economic data kept investors alert for the possibility of a third round of monetary stimulus known as quantitative easing, or QE3.
Out of what the Fed said, you can expect some negative numbers because the Fed obviously saw what the GDP numbers are and they anticipate a slowdown, said Sean Kraus, chief investment officer at CitizensTrust in Pasadena, Calif.
If the Fed does resort to QE3 to stimulate growth, investors don't want to be caught flat-footed and be out of risky assets, Kraus said.
Consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble dipped 0.8 percent to $64.30.
Ford Motor Co. shares fell 4.2 percent to $12.21 after the carmaker reported a lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on higher commodity costs and losses in Europe and Asia.
Network-equipment makers Juniper Networks Inc. and Riverbed Technologies Inc. gave first-quarter outlooks after the close Thursday that were below expectations. Juniper fell 3 percent to $21.69, while Riverbed slid 18.3 percent to $24.45.
According to Thomson Reuters data, 59 percent of 184 S&P 500 companies reporting earnings through Friday have topped analysts' estimates, below the beat rate of about 70 percent seen at this stage of earnings season in recent quarters.
Utilities constituted the worst-performing S&P 500 sector after results from American Electric Power Co. Inc. and Dominion Resources. American Electric fell 3.2 percent to $39.95, while Dominion fell 2.5 percent to $49.56. The S&P 500 utilities index fell 1.3 percent.
The Eastman Chemical Co. offered to buy specialty-chemical maker Solutia Inc. for about $3.38 billion in cash and stock to extend its reach in emerging markets, particularly the Asia-Pacific region. Solutia shares jumped about 41.1 percent to $27.52 and Eastman shares gained 7 percent to $50.41.
Negotiations between Greece and its private creditors on a debt-swap deal made progress on Friday and will continue over the weekend, a senior Greek government official said. Renewed concern about the crisis has troubled markets this week.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Kenneth Barry)