Stocks close lower; Dow near post-crisis peak

Stocks are closing lower after a morning rally pushed the Dow Jones industrial average above its highest closing price since the financial crisis.

Stocks had risen early Thursday on solid factory orders and strong earnings from U.S. manufacturers. They drifted lower after weaker reports on housing and economic growth tempered traders’ optimism.

The Dow closed down 22 points, or 0.2 percent, at 12,735. It had risen as much as 85 points, putting it above its post-crisis high close of 12,810, reached in April 2011.

The S&P 500 closed down 8 points, or 0.6 percent, at 1,318. The Nasdaq closed down 13 points, or 0.5 percent, at 2,805.

Falling stocks slightly outnumbered rising ones on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was above average at 4.5 billion shares.