Wall Street closes slightly lower

Tech stocks continue to weigh as markets struggle for direction.

US stocks closed slightly lower, extending yesterday's losses amid mixed economic data.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 4.76 points, or 0.03%, at 16,264.23.

The S&P 500, a broad measure of the markets, gave up 3.52 points, or 0.19%, to 1,849.04, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 22.35 points, or 0.54%, to 4,151.23.

It is the fifth straight day the Nasdaq has underperformed both the S&P 500 and the Dow, leaving some to speculate whether it may be the slow popping of a bubble.

In economic data, US pending home sales failed to flatter, with the index falling from 94.7 to 93.9 in February. That number was short of market expectations and the lowest mark since October 2011.

In more positive news, US weekly jobless claims fell more than expected. The number of people filing for unemployment benefits dropped to 311,000 in the week to March 22, which was better than 325,000 number tipped by analysts.

Meanwhile, the third read on US economic growth for the fourth quarter of 2013 came in broadly in line with expectations. According to the Commerce Department, GDP growth hit 2.6% for the quarter, which was an upward revision on the 2.4% number originally announced.

In Europe, all eyes were firmly fixed on Ukraine, with the troubled nation receiving an International Monetary Fund bailout worth close to $20 billion. The news came as the UN General Assembly refused to recognise Russia's annexation of Crimea.

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