Closing Update: Stocks Narrowly Mixed - Taper Rally Sputters as Housing Data Rekindles Economic Worries

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Wall Street took a breather after Wednesday's impressive post-Federal Reserve meeting rally, although a late effort landed the Dow Industrials at a fresh record high--barely. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq lagged, ending narrowly in negative territory and unable to extend yesterday's gains after disappointing housing market data and an unexpected jump in jobless claims rekindled concerns over the economy. Now that the FOMC has initiated the long-debated bond-buying taper, markets can focus on the state of the economy, responding negatively today to bearish data.

Although the number was impacted by seasonal factors, the 10,000 rise in initial jobless claims was much worse than what the market expected. This was followed by an equally disappointing Philadelphia Fed business conditions index which increased to only 7.0 in December from 6.5 the month prior, and well below estimates for a gain to 10.0.

Finally. rising lending rates and higher home prices continues to adversely impact the housing market as existing home sales fell 4.3% in November to a 4.9 million annual pace, its lowest level in more than a year.

Here's where the markets stand at the close:

US MARKETS

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 11 points (+0.1%) at 16,179

S&P 500 was down 1 point (-0.1%) at 1,809

Nasdaq Composite Index was down 11 points (-0.3%) at 4,058

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was up 1.43%

Nikkei 225 was down 1.74%

Hang Seng Index was down 1.10%

Shanghai China Composite Index was down 0.95%

UPSIDE MOVERS

IACI Announced plans to reorganize and that Greg Blatt, the company's CEO, will become the chairman of the newly created Match Group.

FUEL Analysts at Needham & Co. have Rocket Fuel to a Strong Buy from a Buy and set a $75 price target.

OXBT The company expects its 2014 milestones to include enrollment in a Phase 3 trial for levosimendan, and completion of Army-funded preclinical safety studies for Oxycyte.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

SMTC Downgraded by four analyst firms

RAD expects to report per-share earnings in the quarter ending in February of between $0.17 to $0.23, missing the Capital IQ consensus looking for a $0.24 gain

WGO Net revenue climbed 15% to $222.7 million, but missed the mean estimate of two analysts for $226 million, according to Capital IQ.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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