Markets' bumpy month ends with a dip

| Saturday, June 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

NEW YORK — Given the wild trading of late, it was a calm close to the month.

After flitting between tiny gains and losses most of Friday, the stock market closed mostly lower, a peaceful end to the most volatile month in nearly two years.

“It's a dull Friday,” said Gary Flam, a stock manager at Bel Air Investment Advisors. A bull market, he added, is “rarely a straight march up.”

The Standard & Poor's 500 index ended its bumpy ride in June down 1.5 percent, the first monthly loss since October. Still, the index had its best first half of a year since 1998 — up 12.6 percent.

Investors still seem unsure how to react to recent statements by Federal Reserve officials about when the central bank might end its support for the economy.

Mixed economic news added to investors' uncertainty Friday. An index of consumer confidence was almost unchanged, but a gauge of business activity in the Chicago area plunged.

“Investors don't know what to make of the news,” said John Toohey, vice president of stock investments at USAA Investment Management. “I wouldn't be surprised to see more ups and downs.”

The S&P 500 stock index closed down 6.92 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,606.28. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 114.89 points, or 0.8 percent, to 14,909.60. The Nasdaq composite index rose 1.38 points, or 0.04 percent, to 3,403.25.

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