Stocks have closed flat on Wall Street as the latest round of earnings reports failed to give investors an impetus to push the market's recent rally forward. The Dow rose seven points to 13,986 after dropping as much as 66 points in the early going. The S&P 500 eked out a gain of just under a point to end at 1,512 and the Nasdaq edged down three points to 3,168.
- A government report showing a smaller-than-expected increase in U.S. crude supplies has led to a turnaround in the price of oil. Benchmark crude for March delivery fell 2 cents to end at $96.62 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped to just over $95 in the morning. Meanwhile, the nationwide average price for a gallon of gas rose for the 20th straight day to $3.55.
- We have more credit card debt and that's good news for Visa. The company announced today its profit jumped 25 percent in the last three months of 2012 as consumers racked up more debt and used their debit cards more often. Visa says its fiscal first-quarter net income totaled $1.3 billion, or $1.93 per share, in the three months ending Dec. 31. That compares with net income of $1.03 billion, or $1.49 per share, a year earlier.
- The loss of Saturday mail delivery may be a good thing for Netflix. The company could end up being slightly more profitable by lowering the costs for sending out its familiar red envelopes with DVDs. That's because subscribers may be able to watch fewer DVDs for the same monthly price. Netflix's DVD subscribers have shrunk from a 2011 peak of 24.6 million to 8.2 million as more people pay to watch video streamed over the Internet.
- Investors' newfound confidence at the start of the year held up through the end of January as cash flows into stock mutual funds are at their highest levels in years. Lipper reports that stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds attracted more than $34 billion for the four weeks ending Jan. 30. That's the largest four-week total since 1996.