US STOCKS-Wall St ends down after data; posts strong gains for month

viernes 27 de febrero de 2015 17:35 GYT

* Fourth-quarter GDP growth revised downward

* Indexes: Dow off 0.5 pct, S&P down 0.3 pct, Nasdaq off 0.5 pct (Updates to close)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 posted its best monthly gain since October 2011 on Friday, but U.S. stocks ended lower for the day as U.S. economic growth slowed more sharply than initially thought in the fourth quarter.

The S&P 500 gained 5.5 percent for the month, while the Nasdaq rose 7.1 percent, its best monthly performance since January 2012. The strong gains have pushed the Nasdaq within striking distance of the 5,000 mark and record highs set in March 2000.

A separate economic report showed a gauge of business activity in the U.S. Midwest dropped to its lowest reading since July 2009 in February.

"We started off with the GDP report which was a bit underwhelming. That maybe set a tone for the market that it wasn't wildly ebullient," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.

Apple, down 1.5 percent at $128.46, weighed on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Investors may have been taking profits ahead of Apple's expected unveiling of its smartwatch on March 9, said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst, Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

Among other decliners, J.C. Penney dropped 6.8 percent to $8.50 after the retailer posted a surprise quarterly loss and forecast small margin improvements this year.   Continuación...