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Dow edges near record, then sputters; stocks down

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 28, 2013 at 4:02 pm •  Published: February 28, 2013

"We still have work to do, still a lot of headwinds to face," said Steve Sachs, head of capital markets at ProShares in Bethesda, Md. But, he added, "we're in a better position now than we were three years ago."

Thursday's close means the Dow rose 1.4 percent in February — respectable, but a slowdown from its 5.8 percent gain in January.

The Dow milestone doesn't mean much in practical terms. It's an index of 30 big-name stocks, such as Disney and General Electric, that investors follow as a gauge of how the overall stock market is doing. But professional investors don't change their strategy because of it.

Even so, a Dow record would be important for psychological reasons: It can make people feel like the economy is doing better. That can induce them to spend and invest more. And it reminds people of a time before the financial crisis, which peaked in 2008.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at about 1.90 percent.

Among stocks making big moves:

—Groupon, the coupons website, plunged 24 percent after reporting late Wednesday that its quarterly loss had expanded. The stock fell $1.45 to $4.53.

—J.C. Penney fell 17 percent after the department store reported a higher-than-expected quarterly loss late Wednesday. The stock dropped $3.59 to $17.57.

— Wendy's, Domino's, clothing chain Chico's and energy drink maker Monster Beverage all rose after reporting higher profit and revenue.

—Barnes & Noble climbed 3 percent, up 51 cents to $15.74. The bookstore chain posted a loss, though its CEO confirmed that the company was still in talks with its founder about a partial buyout.