Stocks Drift Lower

NEW YORK (January 31, 2013)--Stocks drifted lower Thursday, but the Standard & Poor's 500 still logged its best January since 1997, falling 4 points to close at 1,498, and gaining 5.1 percent for the month.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 50 points to close at 13,860.

It's up 5.8 percent this month.

The Nasdaq composite fell a fraction to end the day at 3,142.

It's up 4.1 percent this month.

Stocks got a small lift early Thursday from a report on business activity in the Chicago area before drifting lower.

The Chicago Business Barometer for January came in at 55.6, a higher reading than analysts had forecast. Readings above 50 indicate that economic activity is expanding.

Advancing stocks on the New York Stock Exchange outpaced declining ones where volume of 3.9 billion shares was above average.

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