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Wall St ends with whimper

Stocks on Wall Street ended the strongest week of the year with a whimper.

A key indicator, the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer-sentiment index, declined and kept a lid on Friday's gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 20.14 points, 0.2%, to 13,232.62. Blue chips snapped a seven-session streak of gains, its longest run in 13 months.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.1% to 1404.17, while the Nasdaq Composite fell less than 0.1% to 3055.26.

It was the best week this year for Dow industrials and the S&P 500 on a point and percentage basis. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq notched weekly gains for the fifth straight week. The Dow is up 8.3% this year.

Other markets: Europe up,
European stock markets notched gains for the week, boosted on Friday by financial and resource shares.

Benchmarks in Germany and Paris extended their winning streaks to eight, matching streaks that ended in May 2011.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index added 0.5% at 272.40, its fourth consecutive gain and its highest close since July 8. The index climbed 2.6% for the week, bringing gains for the year to 11%.

The German DAX 30 index added 0.2% to 7157.82, capping off a 4% surge for the week, while the French CAC 40 index firmed 0.4% to 3594.83, its highest close since July 29.

The UK’s FTSE 100 index added 0.4% to 5965.58, its highest close since July 8.

Commodities: Oil up, gold down
Crude futures followed broader markets higher as prices rebounded a day after speculation over a potential release of strategic oil reserves roiled energy markets.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery settled $US1.95 higher at $US107.06 a barrel in New York. May Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange traded $US3.22 higher at $US125.82 a barrel.

Gold futures edged lower as a weaker dollar tempered worries about a potential import tariff increase by top gold consumer India.

The most actively traded contract, for April delivery, fell $US3.70, or 0.2%, to settle at $US1,655.80 an ounce in New York.

Currencies: US dollar weakens
Softer-than-expected US economic data weakened the US dollar, bringing a halt to a rally that took the greenback to multi-month highs earlier this week.

The euro was at $US1.3175 from $US1.3080 late on Thursday. The dollar traded at ¥83.40 from ¥83.57.

The UK pound bought $US1.5827 compared with $US1.5711, while the dollar changed hands at 0.9155 Swiss franc from 0.9229 franc.
 

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