February was a strong month for U.S. stocks, even though it ended in downbeat fashion.

Major stock indexes closed lower Friday, capping a week of subdued trading that still delivered a couple of new highs for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor”s 500 index. It also brought the Nasdaq composite within striking distance of its March 2000 high.

The Nasdaq notched the biggest monthly gain at 7.1 percent. But the S&P 500”s 5.5 percent performance marked its best monthly increase since October 2011, and a turnaround from its 3.1 percent slide in January. The Dow rose 5.6 percent for the month.

Trading was listless Friday as investors balanced reports on housing and consumer confidence against data showing that the U.S. economy grew at a slower rate in the final months of 2014 than previously estimated.

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