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HP, Chevron help to buoy Dow

NEW YORK – U.S. stocks ended mostly lower on Friday after a report showed the economy expanded at a slower pace than expected in the first quarter. But gains for Hewlett-Packard Co. and Chevron Corp. helped the Dow Jones industrial average finish in positive territory.

The S&P 500 index fell 2.92 points, or 0.2 percent, to end at 1,582.24.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped 10.72 points, or 0.3 percent, to end at 3,279.26.

“What’s happening today is a little bit of jitters on the economic front and a little bit of jitters on the earnings front,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 11.75 points, or 0.1 percent, to end at 14,712.55.

Hewlett-Packard Co. rose 1.9 percent, leading gainers in the 30-stock blue-chip index.

Chevron Corp. was another gainer in the Dow, rising 1.3 percent. The oil major said its first-quarter earnings fell to $6.2 billion, or $3.18 per share, from $6.5 billion, or $3.27 a share, in the same period a year ago, but the results still exceeded analyst expectations.

Alcoa Inc. and United Technologies Corp. dropped 1.4 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

The Commerce Department said before the opening bell that gross domestic product grew at a 2.5 percent pace in the first three months of 2013, up from 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast GDP growth of 3.2 percent.

“The disappointment will push back expectations of when the Fed will start to withdraw its stimulus, especially as recent data suggest the rate of growth could weaken again in the second quarter,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, referring to the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program, which is aimed at boosting economic growth and lowering unemployment.

The Federal Open Market Committee is due to hold a meeting on monetary policy on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it’s expected to keep its bond buying unchanged at $85 billion a month.


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