Stocks End Lower, But Score Biggest Monthly Gains Since 2011

U.S. stocks ended the month with a whimper, closing lower on Friday. The main indexes finished the week roughly where they started it, but still booked hefty monthly gains. Analysts cited stabilization in oil prices, accomodative central bank policies around the world and hopes for resolution in Greece debt drama as well as a tentative peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine as the main drivers for monthly advances on Wall Street. The S&P 500 ended 6.25 points, or 0.3%, lower at 2,104.73, and booked a 0.3% loss over the week. The benchmark index advanced 5.5% over the past month, however, for the best monthly gain since October 2011. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 82.04 points, or 0.5%, to 18,132.38, finishing the week flat. The blue-chip index booked a 5.7% gain over the month, also the largest since October 2011. The Nasdaq Composite lost 24.36 points, or 0.5%, to 4,963.53 and was slightly higher over the week. The monthly gain of 7.1% was the best since January 2012, according to FactSet.

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