US STOCKS-Wall St falters as fiscal worry offsets data

* Euro-zone fiscal problems spur some risk aversion

* Q4 GDP data, other economic reports help cushion market

* Apple and Microsoft lead tech sector’s decline

* Dow up 0.2 pct, S&P 500 up 0.1 pct; Nasdaq off 0.3 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to midday, changes byline)

By Ellis Mnyandu

NEW YORK, Jan 29 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) retreated to near
breakeven in choppy trade on Friday, paring earlier strong
gains as worries about fiscal troubles buffeting Europe offset
reassuring reports on the U.S. economy.

Traders said investors were fretting about the impact of
fiscal risks swirling around Europe where Greece, Portugal and
Spain’s fiscal positions are under intense scrutiny.

“There’s a lot of concerns going on as far as the sovereign
debt is concerned in a lot of the nations, specifically in the
euro zone,” said David Lutz, managing director of trading at
Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets in Baltimore. “But even the
U.S. credit default swaps have hit a seven-month high
overnight.”

Earlier in the session, the major U.S. stock indexes rose
more than 1 percent after a trio of reports showed the U.S.
economy grew at a much stronger-than-expected pace during the
fourth quarter, while consumer sentiment and Midwestern
business activity also improved in January.

But the broader market lost ground by midday as investors
sold off shares of such technology bellwethers as Apple Inc (Read more about Apple stock future.)
(AAPL.O: ), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: ) and International Business
Machines Corp (IBM.N: ).

Apple was on track to break a string of 10 months of gains
on Friday, two days after the company unveiled its newest
portable computer, the iPad. The semiconductor index (.SOXX: )
fell 2.5 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) rose 19.57 points,
or 0.19 percent, to 10,140.03. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index
(.SPX: ) inched up 0.62 of a point, or 0.06 percent, to 1,085.15.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) slipped 6.04 points, or 0.28
percent, to 2,172.96.

Shares of Apple lost 2 percent to $195.32 and ranked as the
heaviest weight on the Nasdaq, while Microsoft’s stock fell 2.2
percent to $28.53.

Big manufacturers, including Boeing Co (BA.N: ), as well as
the energy and materials sectors fell, weighing on both the Dow
and the S&P 500. Boeing dropped 1.9 percent to $61.36.

Before the opening bell, Wall Street got a shot of
adrenaline when the U.S. Commerce Department reported that the
U.S. economy grew at an annual pace of 5.7 percent in the
fourth quarter, much higher than the 4.6 percent growth
forecast by a Reuters poll. The first estimate of the nation’s
output in the last three months of 2009 put gross domestic
product growth at its fastest pace since the third quarter of
2003, according to the Commerce Department.

Other data showed January consumer sentiment rose more than
expected to hit a two-year high, and business activity in the
U.S. Midwest expanded more than forecast in January. For
details on Friday’s data, see [ID:nN28246399]

Stock Today

(Reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by Jan Paschal)

US STOCKS-Wall St falters as fiscal worry offsets data