Stocks seesawed on Friday as a fall in the U.S. dollar offset economic reports that came in mostly weaker than expected.
Buoying stocks was an upward revision in the U.S. fourth-quarter gross domestic product. In its second reading, the Commerce Department said the economy grew at an annual rate of 5.9 percent, up from the 5.7 percent annual pace estimated last month.
But a sharp drop in existing home sales in January and weak consumer sentiment in February underscored unevenness in the economic recovery.
Consumer staples' shares were hurt by the data, with Walgreen Co
There was a lot of economic data this morning, most of them worse than expected, said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois. Offsetting that is the fact that the dollar has declined somewhat and in general, when the dollar has been declining, that's positive for equities.
A report that Germany may consider buying Greek bonds as an emergency measure helped push the dollar lower, lifting equities as a result.
Fears about a possible default by heavily-indebted Greece have rattled investors for weeks, but those worries might be easing, said Warren West, principal at Greentree Brokerage Services in Philadelphia.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 6.42 points, or 0.06 percent, at 10,314.61. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> lost 0.57 point, or 0.05 percent, to 1,102.37. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> inched up 0.53 point, or 0.02 percent, to 2,234.75.
The three major U.S. stock indexes were on track to post a negative week, following two weeks of gains.
American International Group Inc
Healthcare stocks moved up, with Cigna
Financials also gained. Dow component JP Morgan Chase & Co
A snowstorm that began on Thursday and forced closures of schools and businesses across the Northeast kept a number of traders home, as well, leading to expectations of lower volume on Friday.
We're going to see smaller volume, so we might get some exaggerated moves, said Dan Cook, senior market analyst at IG Markets in Chicago. I'd expect a flat day overall heading into the weekend, because we've got so much going on next week in terms of data.
(Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos and Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Jan Paschal)