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Tech companies, Citigroup tug U.S. stocks lower

Trader Vincent Quinones works on the floor of

Trader Vincent Quinones works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

It was a bad day to be an investor in Citigroup or tech stocks.

U.S. stock indexes edged lower for a second day Thursday as investors continued to retreat from technology stocks. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite index closed at its lowest level in six weeks.

Bank stocks were also in focus. Citigroup fell 5.40 percent after the Federal Reserve denied the bank's plan to raise its dividend and buy back more stock. Most other major banks won approval to raise their dividends.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 0.19 percent, to close at 1,849.04, and the Nasdaq dropped 0.54 percent to 4,151.23.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell a modest 4.76 points to end at 16,264.23. The blue-chip index benefited from a gain in Exxon Mobil, which rose $1.54, or 1.63 percent, to $96.24 as the price of oil increased 1 percent to just over $101 a barrel.

Once again, the high-flying technology stocks that soared in 2013 were among the hardest hit. Tesla Motors fell 2.65 percent, Netflix lost 2.18 percent and Google fell 1.56 percent. For the month, Netflix is down 18 percent, and Twitter and Tesla have fallen 16 and 15 percent, respectively.-- AP

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