Stocks Hit Wall Following Rally

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks hit a wall on Wednesday and gave back some of their gains from a day earlier, when the Standard & Poor's 500 index had one of its best days of the year.

The losses were broad, with stocks falling across nearly every industry, but they were not as deep as on the worst days of the last couple of weeks. Prices for Treasury bonds and gold rose modestly as investors sought safer ground.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,446 as of 10:15 a.m. Eastern time. It gave back close to a third of its big gain from Tuesday. The S&P 500 had been on a two-day winning streak after pulling out of a nearly two-week slump caused by worries about politics in Washington and abroad.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 57 points, or 0.3 percent, to 21,842, and the Nasdaq composite lost 14, or 0.2 percent, to 6,283.

BROAD LOSSES: Three stocks fell on the New York Stock Exchange for every two that rose, and nine of the 11 sectors that make up the S&P 500 were weaker. The outliers in the index were telecom and real-estate stocks, both of which had modest gains of 0.3 percent or less.

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HAMMERED: Lowe's had one of the biggest losses in the S&P 500 after it said profit and revenue were weaker last quarter than analysts expected. It also gave a profit forecast for the year that fell below Wall Street's expectations. Lowe's dropped $3.78, or 5 percent, to $72.04.

POLITICS AND PROSE: Worries about politics were a big reason for the market's stumbles in recent weeks. In Washington, the concern is about whether the government can push through tax cuts and other pro-business policies that were considered slam dunks early this year. The government is also coming close to crucial deadlines, including one to increase its borrowing authority in order to avoid a default on the debt.

In a speech late Tuesday, President Donald Trump threatened to shut down the federal government unless Congress agrees to provide funding for the border wall he wants between Mexico and the United States. He also said that he thinks the U.S. government will "end up probably terminating" the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, though he also said that he has yet to make up his mind.

The value of the Mexican peso dipped against the U.S. dollar. A dollar is worth 17.7629, up from 17.6684 pesos late Tuesday.

YIELDS: Prices for Treasurys rose as investors sought safer investments. When a bond's price rises, its yield drops, and the 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.18 percent from 2.21 percent late Tuesday. The two-year yield dipped to 1.31 percent from 1.33 percent, and the 30-year yield dropped to 2.76 percent from 2.79 percent.

MARKETS ABROAD: European markets dipped, with the French CAC 40 down 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX down 0.2 percent and the FTSE 100 in London down 0.1 percent.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 percent, while South Korea's Kospi was virtually flat.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 109.14 Japanese yen from 109.52 yen late Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.1790 from $1.1752, and the British pound fell to $1.2793 from $1.2828.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude oil slipped 5 cents to $47.78 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, slipped a penny to $51.86 per barrel.

Gold rose $2.70 to $1,293.70 per ounce, silver added 3 cents to $17.01 per ounce and copper slipped a penny to $2.98 per pound.

Natural gas fell 3 cents to $2.91 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil rose a penny to $1.61 per gallon and wholesale gasoline was close to flat at $1.59 per gallon.

(BE)

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