Stock prices finished Friday flat as investors took profits after spending the past several sessions applauding positive indicators and a Federal Reserve decision to shave USD10 billion off its monthly USD85 billion in monthly bond purchases, a sign the economy is improving and in less need of monetary support.
At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.01%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.03%, while the Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.25%.
Stocks repeatedly hit record highs after the Federal Reserve last week announced plans to begin scaling down its monthly bond-buying program.
Profit-taking sent prices edging lower on Friday, especially amid concerns that a gradual tapering of Federal Reserve stimulus programs will result in borrowing costs inching up down the road.
Still, expectations for a more robust economy in 2014 sent prices rising in recent days before hitting levels ripe for profit taking on Friday.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits declined by 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 338,000 last week.
Analysts were expecting U.S. jobless claims to fall by 35,000 to 345,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 380,000, which was the highest since March.
Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Cisco, up 1.03%, 3M, up 0.76%, and Exxon Mobil, up 0.58%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average''s worst performers included Boeing, down 0.99%, Microsoft, down 0.41%, and Intel, down 0.37%.
European indices, meanwhile, finished higher.
After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 1.16%, France''s CAC 40 rose 1.40%, while Germany''s DAX 30 rose 1.06%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished up 0.85%.
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