Damian Bagarozza, right, works with fellow traders on the floor...

Damian Bagarozza, right, works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday. (March 19, 2012) Credit: AP

U.S. stocks closed mixed Wednesday after a quiet trading day that left the indexes little changed.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 45.57 points, or 0.35 percent, to 13,124.62. It had been up 20 shortly after the opening bell. The Dow had its biggest loss in two weeks on Tuesday, falling 68.94 points.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed down 2.63 points, or 0.19 percent, at 1,402.89. The Nasdaq composite average closed up 1.17, or 0.04 percent, at 3,075.32.

Hewlett-Packard led the Dow lower, sliding 2.17 percent after saying it would combine its printer and PC divisions to save money and improve efficiency. HP is coping with declining sales of PCs and printer ink as smartphones, tablets and electronic document-sharing gain popularity.

Earlier Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors released a mixed report about the state of the housing market. Sales of previously occupied homes dipped last month, but the sales pace for the winter was the best in five years, NAR said.

Housing has been dragging on the economic recovery; an oversupply of homes has decimated construction and other trades in many parts of the country. -- AP

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