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Market snapshot

Dow nears record, but gains slip away

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So close: The Dow got within 15 points of its record high, but the momentum faded. The big indexes fell, ending a two-day winning streak. The fleeting gains, some said, were more about stocks’ tendency to rise over time than about the economy. Company earnings news was mixed, and a report said the economy grew just 0.1% (annualized) in the last quarter of 2012 — better than the initial estimate of a 0.1% decline, but hardly robust. The number of people seeking unemployment aid fell, and the US prepared for federal spending cuts to kick in. The Dow rose 1.4% in February — respectable, but a slowdown from the 5.8% gain in January.

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