Stocks Closed Down after Consumer Sentiment Data

U.S. stocks closed slightly down on Friday after a gauge of consumer sentiment in March fell to its lowest level since December 2011. On the run after a 10-session advance, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25.03 points, or 0.17%, to 14,514.11. The S&P 500 index shed 2.53 points, or 0.16%, to 1,560.70, leaving it 8 points from its record close, set in October 2007. The Nasdaq Composite fell 9.86 points, or 0.30%, to 3,249.07.

Consumer sentiment tumbled to its lowest since December 2011 in early March, hit by dissatisfaction with government economic policies and as fewer Americans expected to see improvements in growth or the labor market, a survey released on Friday showed.

President Barack Obama says the U.S. must shift its cars and trucks entirely off oil to avoid perpetual fluctuations in gas prices.

Hedge fund titan Steven A. Cohen’s firm, long the focus of a federal investigation into insider trading, is paying more than $600 million to U.S. securities regulators to settle allegations arising from improper trading in two stocks.

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