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U.S. stocks were little changed, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index poised for its biggest weekly gain in 2012, as an unexpected decline in consumer confidence and a rally in oil tempered optimism about growth.
Equities were little changed as confidence among consumers unexpectedly fell in March, a sign rising fuel costs may be starting to weigh on the economic outlook. The cost of living rose in February by the most in 10 months, reflecting a jump in gasoline. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said yesterday rising oil prices show “we still face a dangerous and uncertain world” and there’s no easy way to lower gasoline costs.
Dow 13,249.05 -3.71 -0.03%, Nasdaq 3,055.87 -0.50 -0.02%, S&P 500 1,404.22 +1.62 +0.12%
Energy shares gained as oil traded above $105 a barrel on speculation that fuel demand will climb with the economic rebound in the U.S. Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield- services provider, added 2 percent to $76.45. Noble increased 4.9 percent to $41.26.
Bank of America (ВАС) increased 3.5 percent, the most in the Dow, to $9.56. Zions Bancorporation added 1.6 percent to $22.48.
Apple increased 0.1 percent to $586.07, after yesterday rising above $600 for the first time. The 9.7-inch iPad, unveiled on March 7, is the biggest upgrade yet to Apple’s tablet before Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) introduces new software for competing devices.
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