Stocks See Best January Since 1997

Stocks ended mixed on Tuesday, but this January was still the best performance for Wall Street in more than a decade.  Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 recorded their best percentage jump for the month of January since 1997. The Nasdaq Composite recorded its best January since 2001. The Dow industrials lost 20.81 points, or 0.16%, to 12,632.91, up 3.4% for January in its fourth straight monthly gain. The S&P 500 fell 0.60 point to 1,312.41, up 4.4% for the month, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.90 points to 2,813.84, up 8% for January.

U.S. house prices dropped sharply in November to mark the third straight drop, according to a closely followed index released Tuesday. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite home price index dropped 1.3% to take the year-on-year drop to 3.7%.

A gauge of consumer confidence fell in January, partly reversing substantial gains in the prior two months, as views on current business conditions and employment declined, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. The confidence index fell to 61.1 in January from 64.8 in December.

Amazon.com Inc (NasdaqGS:AMZN ) said it may lose money in the first quarter, a sign the company is continuing to spend heavily on expansion and new ventures. Amazon said fourth-quarter net income was $177 million, or 38 cents per share, down from $416 million, or 91 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue came in at $17.43 billion, up 35 percent from the fourth-quarter of 2010.

Greece’s private sector creditors could take a loss of more than 70 percent in a planned debt swap, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Tuesday.

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