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Stocks close out the week flat after mixed earnings and economic news

Hot Stock Minute

Stocks ended the week slightly lower, with the both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq down on a mixed bag of earnings and economic news. For the week, the Dow (^DJI) ended essentially flat, the Nasdaq (^IXIC) was actually up 0.4%, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) lost 0.4%.

Housing starts for December came in better-than-expected at 999,900 versus estimates of 985,000, but fell from 1.09 million in November. December building permits declined 3.0%. That was the second straight month of declines for the indicator of future construction. For the full year, both housing starts and building permits had their best performance since 2007, before the recession began.

Industrial production closed out the year on a strong note, up 0.3% in December and up 3.7% for the full year. Consumers appear to be focusing more on the negative economic news. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index declined in January to 80.4, from 82.5 in December. According to the survey director, low and middle income families remain concerned about lackluster growth in jobs and income.

Among the biggest movers on the day: Intel (INTC) sold off after delivering downbeat guidance after the bell Thursday. Twitter (TWTR) surged on a bullish price target of $75 a share from Stifel. Morgan Stanley (MS) closed higher after beating Wall Street estimates. General Electric (GE) was down even after it beat estimates on an increase in revenue.

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