Stocks Close Lower After Economic Data

U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday, taking a step back from their recent advance,  as investors digested mixed economic news and a slew of earnings reports. The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 42.47 points, or 0.30 percent, at 13,944.05. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 2.73 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,509.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index was off 3.35 points, or 0.11 percent, to 3,165.13.

U.S. consumers increased their debt in December by a seasonally adjusted $14.6 billion, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday. The 6.3% seasonally adjusted increase was close to expectations.

LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE:LNKD) on Thursday reported a fourth-quarter profit of $11.51 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with a profit of $6.92 million, or 6 cents a share, for the year-earlier period. Revenue was up $303.62 million, from $167.74 million. Adjusted profit was 35 cents a share.

Corporations and a major exchange are urging the nation’s securities watchdog to have big investors disclose their stakes — equity and short positions — at companies more frequently and faster.

ECB President Mario Draghi said the euro’s recent appreciation was one factor weighing on inflation, adding that the euro exchange rate, while not a policy target for the ECB, is important for both growth and price stability. He also repeated that the ECB’s monetary policy remains “accommodative.”

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