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Markets End the Day Flat on the Heels of New Economic Data

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Blue chips were higher for a seventh day on positive economic data. Stocks Monday drifted between positive and negative territory, at first bolstered by encouraging news about manufacturing, but then fell on a report showing the pace of home sales was somewhat disappointing.

The Dow closed down 14 points, at 13,881.93. The Nasdaq Composite finished the day up nearly five points at 3,154.30. The S&P closed off three points at 1,500.18.

Orders for long-lasting, manufactured goods rose in December by 4.6 percent, helped by a 10-percent gain in orders for new aircraft. Companies, however, slowed their orders for computers.

Meanwhile, Americans who signed contracts to buy homes fell last month, after reaching a two-and-a-half-year high in November. Sales were held back by a limited supply of available homes.

The weekly average price of a gallon of regular gas is $3.36, up four cents from a week earlier, according to the Department of Energy.  This price is down eight cents from a year ago.
Drivers on the West Coast are paying the most for a gallon of gas at $3.55. The cheapest gas in the country is in the Rocky Mountain region at $2.98
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