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Stocks drift lower, paring January gains

7:11 AM, Feb 1, 2013   |    comments
A sign for Wall Street is seen just outside the New York Stock Exchange.(Photo: Timothy A. Clary, AFP/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) - The Dow Jones industrial average is logging its best start to the year in almost two decades. The Dow ended the month up 5.8 percent, its strongest January since 1994, according to S&P Capital IQ data.

The Standard & Poor's 500 finished the month 5 percent higher, its best start to the year since 1997.

The Nasdaq was up 4.1 percent.

But stocks drifted lower yesterday.

The Dow fell 50 points to 13,860. The S&P dropped 4 points and the Nasdaq composite fell a fraction.

Stocks rallied in the first week of the year after U.S. lawmakers reached a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff," and then pushed higher toward record levels as optimism about the housing market recovery grew. Decent company earnings for the fourth quarter and an improving job market also helped lift markets.






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