NEW YORK — U.S. stocks ended Friday’s session little changed after a three-day drop, but logged their worst week in nearly four months on concern that the Federal Reserve could signal the start of a reduction in its stimulus program at its policy-setting meeting next week.
Investors in U.S.-based funds pulled $6.51 billion out of stock mutual funds in the week ended Wednesday, representing the biggest weekly outflow this year, data from Thomson Reuters’ Lipper service showed Thursday.
In a bullish signal, the S&P 500 closed Friday right above 1,775 — considered a technical support level. At less than 2 percent below its record closing high, the S&P 500’s pullback for the week shows no signs of investor panic, traders said.Investors have been trying to gauge the timing of an expected winding down of the central bank’s bond-buying stimulus, with many market participants expecting the Fed to announce a tapering in March. Stronger economic data of late, however, has led some to shorten that timeline to as soon as the end of next week’s two-day meeting.The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15.93 points or 0.1 percent, to end at 15,755.36. The S&P 500 dipped a mere 0.18 of a point or 0.01 percent, to finish at 1,775.32. The Nasdaq Composite added 2.572 points or 0.06 percent, to close at 4,000.975.