Stocks ended mostly lower on Wall Street Wednesday as losses by technology and industrial sector companies offset gains in other parts of the market. The S&P 500 edged down less than 0.1%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gave back 0.6%. Small-company stocks also fell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to a new record high thanks in large part to gains in Verizon Communications and Chevron. Those two stocks climbed after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway said it made major new investments in them in the second half of last year, the AP reports. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held near its highest level in a year. The S&P 500 fell 1.26 points, to 3,931.33. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 90.27 points, or 0.3%, to 31,613.02. The Nasdaq fell 82 points to 13,965.49.
The Commerce Department said US retail sales soared a seasonally adjusted 5.3% in January from the month before. It was the biggest increase since June and much larger than the 1% rise Wall Street analysts had expected. The jump was largely driven by the $600 stimulus checks that went out to most Americans in late December and early January. The data shows that recession-hit Americans are eager to spend cash on necessities, and aren't saving the funds—which is the goal of stimulus checks. It potentially means that additional stimulus, likely in the form of $1,400 checks in the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, will likely provide a necessary boost to the economy.
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