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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WALL STREET : Stocks Surrender Early Gains on Post-Fed Sell-Off


U.S. stocks explored both sides of breakeven today, but ended in the red after the Fed seemingly rained on the bulls' parade. Specifically, despite surprising no one by maintaining rock-bottom interest rates, and essentially standing pat on its economic outlook, buyers hit the exits in the wake of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy statement. While some economists attributed the afternoon about-face to a lack of QE3 signals, others said the turnaround was simply due to light volume and year-end liquidations. In any case -- and thanks to a round of lackluster retail sales data and bailout-related rumors out of Germany -- the major market indexes gave up early gains to settle notably lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 11,954.94) explored a range of more than 240 points, but eventually ended with a loss of 66.5 points, or 0.6%, to finish south of the 12,000 level and its 10-day moving average. However, the blue-chip barometer maintained a perch atop its 200-day trendline, which hasn't been violated on a daily closing basis since Nov. 29. Among the index's 30 components, Pfizer (PFE) led the seven advancing equities with a 1.8% gain, while Alcoa (AA) paced the 21 decliners with a loss of 3.3%. Both Boeing (BA) and Merck (MRK) finished flat.


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