Stocks End Day Mixed, Dow Gains

U.S. stocks finished mostly lower on Thursday, though the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to reverse losses and end in positive territory. The Dow gained 19.61 points, or 0.15%, to finish at 13,145.82. The S&P 500 index dropped 2.26 points, or 0.16%, to 1,403.28. The Nasdaq Composite fell 9.60 points, or 0.31%, to 3,095.36.

In a landmark development for the way Western companies do business in China, Apple Inc said Thursday it had agreed to work with partner Foxconn to substantially improve wages and working conditions at their factories.

The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell back below 4 percent this week, staying near historic lows. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 3.99 percent from 4.08 percent last week.

Research In Motion Ltd. said Thursday afternoon that it swung to a loss for its fourth fiscal quarter and will no longer provide a quarterly forecast. For the quarter ended March 3, RIM (NASDAQ:RIMM) reported a net loss of $125 million, or 24 cents a share, compared to net income of $934 million, or $1.78 per share, for the same period last year. Earnings on an adjusted basis came in at 80 cents a share for the period, the company said. Revenue fell 25% to $4.19 billion.

Crude-oil futures ended at a six-week low Thursday, falling for a second straight day after Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said his country is able to increase supplies to counter higher oil prices. Crude-oil futures for May delivery slipped $2.63, or 2.5%, to end the day at $102.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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