US stocks end February close to record high


US stocks ended flat yesterday, giving up modest gains late in the session, denying the Dow a chance to inch closer to all-time highs.

The Dow Jones industrial average shed 20.88 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 14,054.49 at the close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 1.31 points, or 0.09 percent, to 1,514.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 2.07 points, or 0.07 per cent, to end at 3,160.19.

For the month, the Dow rose 1.4 percent, the S&P 500 gained 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 0.6 percent.

The S&P 500 still managed to close out February with a fourth straight month of gains. JC Penney was the day’s biggest loser, falling 17 per cent to $17.57 after the department store operator reported a steep drop in sales.

The Dow was within striking distance of its record high after a year-to-date advance of more than seven per cent.

The Dow’s record closing high, set on October 9 2007, stands at 14,164.53, while the Dow's intraday record high, set on October 11 2007, stands at 14,198.10.

For the month, the Dow rose 1.4 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 1.1 per cent and the Nasdaq advanced 0.6 per cent.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average, seen as a bet on future growth, is up 12.9 per cent this year, and the 20-stock index hit a record intraday high earlier yesterday.

Limited Brands and Netflix ranked among the best-performing consumer stocks. Shares of Limited Brands, the parent of retailers Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, gained 2.3 per cent to $45.52.

The stock of video streaming service Netflix climbed two per cent to $$188.08.

In contrast, shares of Groupon fell on weak revenue, with the daily deals company’s stock tumbling 24.3 per cent to $4.53.99.