U.S. stocks fall on soft housing data, Russia unease; Dow gains 0.06%

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Investing.com - U.S. stocks ended Thursday lower after lackluster housing data offset optimism stemming from better-than-expected U.S. growth and weekly jobless claims data, while ongoing Russia-Ukraine concerns watered down share prices.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow 30 fell 0.03%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.19%, while the Nasdaq fell 0.54%.

The National Association of Realtors reported earlier that its pending home sales index dropped by 0.8% last month, disappointing expectations for a 0.3% gain.

Pending home sales for January were revised down to a 0.2% decline from a previously reported gain of 0.1%.

Year-on-year, pending home sales fell at annualized rate of 10.2% in February, worse than expectations for a 8.5% decline, after declining 9.3% in January.

While rough winter weather may have disrupted home buying, the figures sent investors selling stocks for profits that ended the session in negative territory.

Ongoing fears the West may stiffen sanctions against Russia dampened spirits on Wall Street as well.

Such a move could threaten to send the Russian economy into recession, which could drag on global growth.

Elsewhere, the Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. gross domestic product was revised up to 2.6% in the final three months of 2013, from a preliminary estimate of 2.4%. Market expectations had been for an upward revision to 2.7%.

Still, the report showed that personal spending was revised up to 3.3% from 2.6% initially, the fastest rate of growth in three years, which drew applause from investors before the disappointing housing data.

Separately, the Labor Department said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the U.S. last week declined by 10,000 to a 311,000 from the previous week's revised total of 321,000.

Analysts were expecting jobless claims to rise by 4,000.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), up 1.64%, Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ), up 1.46%, and AT&T Inc (NYSE:T), up 1.03%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), down 1.46%, Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO), down 1.32%, and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), down 1.06%.

European indices, meanwhile, finished mixed.

After the close of European trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.11%, France's CAC 40 fell 0.14%, while Germany's DAX rose 0.03%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 fell 0.26%.

On Friday, the U.S. is to round up the week with a report on personal spending and revised data on consumer sentiment.

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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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