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US stocks flat after Fed-fuelled rally

United States America,Business/Economy, Wed, 28 Mar 2012 IANS

New York, March 28 (IANS) US stocks traded flat Tuesday after major indexes jumped to 2012 highs in a central bank-fuelled rally.


In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average dipped 10. 67 points, or 0.08 percent, at 13,230.96. The Standard & Poor's 500 was down 0.84 points, or 0.06 percent, to 1,415.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 5.21 points, or 0.17 percent, to 3,127.78.


Market sentiment was buoyed after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday that the central bank would bolster the economy if the recovery weakens, Xinhua reported.


His comments were not surprising to the market but reassuring. Investors believed that the Fed would keep the ultra-low interest rate for quite a long period of time and there are possibilities that the central bank may pump more liquidity to the market.


The market took a breath as Tuesday's data showed a rocky start for the housing market, with home prices falling for the fifth month in a row to the lowest level since early 2003.


The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite index fell 0.8 percent, with 16 of 20 metropolitan areas seeing price declines, which suggest that the housing sector still lagged behind compared with other sections of the economy.


A separate report showed that US consumer sentiment pulled back slightly in March after the index hit a one-year high in the previous month, the private business group the Conference Board said Tuesday.


According to its monthly survey, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index slipped to 70.2 from an upwardly revised 71.6, lower than the 70.8 that the market expected.


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