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Dow squeaks out 6th record high, S&P 500 falls

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

US stocks closed mostly lower Tuesday in quiet trade, but the Dow squeezed out a sixth straight day of record-high closings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 2.77 points (0.02 percent) to 14,450.06, an all-time peak.

The broad-market S&P 500 fell 3.74 points (0.24 percent) to 1,552.48, snapping a seven-session winning streak.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite dropped 10.55 points (0.32 percent) to 3,242.32.

"The record-breaking winning streak for the Dow continued, eking out a very modest gain, while technology stocks kept the other major indexes lower," Charles Schwab & Co. said in a market note.

But stocks overall remained "close to the flatline, as the markets lacked any hint of a catalyst from either the economic and equity fronts."

The Dow kept up its eight-day winning streak lifted by a 3.2 percent rise in the shares of pharmaceutical giant Merck after it won regulatory approval to continue its clinical study of the cholesterol drug Vytorin.

Also helping the blue-chip index was Boeing, up 1.5 percent amid reports Irish airline Ryanair will announce an $18 billion order for up to 200 aircraft.

Dow oil major Chevron slipped 0.4 percent after saying it was on track to meet its target for a large increase in oil and natural gas output in 2017.

Tech heavyweight Apple tumbled 2.2 percent to $428.43 after a price target cut from analyst Jefferies, to $420.

Google dropped 0.9 percent after agreeing to pay a $7 million fine to settle a US Wi-Fi privacy lawsuit. Hewlett-Packard shed 1.8 percent.

BlackBerry gave back 2.9 percent from Monday's 14.1 percent gain after it announced the US launch date for its new Z10 smartphone, March 22.

Yum Brands gained 1.3 percent after the restaurant giant reported same-store sales fell about 2.0 percent in China in February, not as much as analysts expected.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.02 percent from 2.06 percent late Monday, while the 30-year yield dropped to 3.22 percent from 3.25 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130312/dow-squeaks-out-6th-record-high-sp-500-falls