Stocks Ended Lower but Notch a Strong January

U.S. stocks drifted lower on Thursday as a batch of disappointing corporate earnings and a rise in first time jobless claims eventually overtook investors’ impulse to buy.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 49.84 points, or 0.36%, to 13,860.58, leaving it with a 5.8% gain for January, its best monthly rise since October 2011 and its strongest monthly start to a year since 1994. The S&P 500 inde lost 3.85 points, or 0.26%, to 1,498.11, leaving it up 5% for the month. The Nasdaq Composite retreated 0.18 point, or 0.01 %, to 3,142.13, giving it a 4% January rise.

The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop Anheuser-Busch InBev SA  from buying the half of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo  that it does not already own, saying the $20.1 billion deal would lessen competition in the U.S. beer market.

The U.S. dollar fell against the euro Thursday ahead of Friday’s jobs data, and the Federal Reserve’s statement Wednesday that it will continue easing measures. The euro (ICAPC:EURUSD)   traded higher at $1.3579 compared with $1.3568 late Wednesday, back to its highest level versus the greenback in 14 months.

Crude futures slipped Thursday. West Texas Intermediate oil for March delivery fell 45 cents, or 0.5%, to $97.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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