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Stocks mixed day after Dow tops 12,000

Traders Jonathan CorpinBrittany Wayne work floor New York Stock Exchange Feb. 1 2011. | AP~Richard Drew

Traders Jonathan Corpina and Brittany Wayne work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Feb. 1, 2011. | AP~Richard Drew

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were mixed Wednesday, a day after the Dow Jones industrial average closed at its highest level in two and a half years.

“The market seems to be catching its breath after that strong run Tuesday,” said Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist for RidgeWorth Investments.

In midday trading, the Dow index gained 2 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 12,050.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index lost 2, or 0.2 percent, to 1,305. Eight of its 10 company groups fell.

The Nasdaq composite lost less than a point and traded at 2,750.

Time Warner Inc. rose 8 percent after the owner of Warner Bros., HBO and CNN said its fourth-quarter profit jumped 22 percent. The company also raised its 2011 forecasts.

Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. jumped 15 percent after the company raised its profit forecast as well. The company was the best performer in the S&P 500.

Mattel Inc. gained 2 percent after the nation’s largest toymaker said its revenue rose 9 percent on strong sales of Barbie and Fisher-Price toys.

Whirlpool Corp. fell 3 percent after the company said it would raise prices in response to higher costs of raw materials.

Treasury prices fell, pushing their yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.50 percent from 3.43 percent late Tuesday.

Traders’ television screens were filled with scenes of fighting between groups that supported President Hosni Mubarak and those who are calling for his ouster. Mubarak vowed Tuesday that he will not run for president again in September but did not say he would take any steps to leave office before then.

Egypt is not a major producer of oil but controls the Suez Canal, a key shipping lane in the global oil business. Oil prices rose 25 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $91.02.

Payroll processor ADP said that private companies added more jobs in January than analysts predicted. Many investors are waiting for Friday’s unemployment rate report. Economists expect unemployment to rise to 9.5 percent from 9.4 percent.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange opened half an hour later than normal because of snow. The closure did not affect electronic trading.

News Corp. and Visa. Inc. will report earnings after the market closes.

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