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US: Stocks end with losses as rally fades, Nasdaq down 0.9%

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished lower on Wednesday as a morning rally faded amid nagging questions following two days of chaotic trading and wild price swings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.1 per cent to close at 24,893.35, moving into the red in the final moments after being in positive territory most of the session.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.5 per cent to end the day at 2,681.66, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 0.9 per cent to 7,051.98.

Investors were still digesting Monday's huge retreat and the bounce on Tuesday that allowed them to recover some of the losses.

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While Wednesday's session was generally calmer than the prior two, trading was choppy, with the Nasdaq generally underperforming the other two indices.

"Right now, it looks like we are trying to make a bottom," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Annuities.

Analysts say worries about higher US interest rates were the prime catalyst for this week's turmoil, but the severity of the price swings was exacerbated by computerized trading programmes.

The pullback follows a series of records after the US enacted massive tax cuts plan favored by President Donald Trump in December. Many analysts remain upbeat on the US economy and the chances of further stock market gains, but are girding for more swings.

"We continue to believe in the New Yorker's risk management creed: there is never just one cockroach," Nicholas Colas of DataTrek Research said in a note.

"The blow up in the volatility space yesterday counts as one insect. Where are the rest?" Colas suggested markets would remain cautious and not rally significantly until it regains confidence.

Among blue chips, Boeing and Walmart advanced about two percent, while Chevron and ExxonMobil fell as oil prices retreated on a bearish US petroleum inventory report.

Wynn Resorts surged 8.6 per cent after chief executive Steve Wynn announced he was stepping down following allegations of decades of sexual misconduct.

Companies with big movements after earnings reports included Snap, which soared 47.6 per cent, Hasbro, which climbed 8.8 per cent and Chipotle Mexican Grill, which slumped 10.6 per cent.

AFP

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