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Stocks close mixed on weak earnings

There was time to smile on the floor

There was time to smile on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as stocks rallied Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. There may be more smiles in store, stocks were heading up in early trading. Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt

Weak earnings from tobacco company Lorillard and household products maker Procter & Gamble helped end the stock market's longest winning streak of the year Wednesday.

Lorillard dropped after the maker of Newport cigarettes said its profit fell as higher costs offset an increase in revenue from both traditional and electronic cigarettes. Procter & Gamble fell after the company lowered its sales and earnings forecasts.

The losses were relatively small. Before Wednesday's drop, stocks had gained for the previous four days, mitigating some of the market's weakness in January caused by signs of slowing growth in China and doubts about how strong the U.S. economy was.

"At this point, boring is good," said Kate Warne, an investment strategist at Edward Jones, an investment adviser. "People are a bit tired of the ups and downs we've seen, and a relatively flat day would be a sign of confidence," Warne said.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.03 percent, to close at 1,819.26. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 30.83 points to 15,963.94. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.24 percent to 4,201.29.

-- AP

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