Stocks Ended Mixed, Dow Below 14K

U.S. stocks closed mixed on Wednesday, sending the Dow back below 14,000 points. McDonald’s slumped as investors worried that spending on restaurants would fall. The Dow fell 36.10 points, or 0.3%, to close at 13,982.60. The S&P 500 Index rose 0.89 point, or less than 0.1%, to close at 1,520.32. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 10.38 points, or 0.3%, at 3,196.88.

McDonald’s was among the biggest decliner on the Dow, logging its biggest drop of the year, on concern that Americans will have less money to spend following a rise in Social Security taxes. The government reported that spending by Americans barely moved up last month.

Thomson Reuters’ revenue and margin forecast for 2013 failed to impress Wall Street and the shares fell 2.4 percent, overshadowing bullish remarks from Chief Executive James Smith that his turnaround plan was gaining traction. The global news and information company posted a better-than-expected rise in quarterly profit on Wednesday and forecast that revenue would increase in the low single digits this year. The outlook was largely anticipated by analysts, who had forecast a 2 percent rise.

Toys R Us Inc (TOY.UL) said on Wednesday that Gerald Storch will step down as its chief executive, just weeks after the world’s largest dedicated toy retailer reported disappointing results for the all-important holiday season.

Jacob Lew, President Barack Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary, is urging Congress to avoid steep automatic spending cuts that are set to take effect on March 1, saying they threaten the broader economy.

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