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US: Stocks ease for 2nd day after record run

US stocks fell for a second day Wednesday after a run that saw new Dow and S&P records and a 15-year high for the Nasdaq.

[NEW YORK] US stocks fell for a second day Wednesday after a run that saw new Dow and S&P records and a 15-year high for the Nasdaq.

Dull data on private business hiring and service sector growth, and a so-so Beige Book economic survey from the Federal Reserve kept traders cautious, with eyes now on Friday's official jobs market report for February, and the European Central Bank meeting Thursday.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 106.47 points (0.58 per cent) at 18,096.90.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 9.25 (0.44 per cent) to 2,098.53, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite dropped 12.76 (0.26 per cent) to 4,967.14.

Bill Lynch of Hinsdale Associates said the market may have gotten a bit of vertigo after the heights hits on Monday, with the S&P 500 reaching 2,119 and the Nasdaq topping 5,000.

"There may be some wariness about what the ECB may tell tomorrow," he added.

Fashion chain Abercrombie & Fitch plunged 15.5 per cent after missing sales expectations in the most recent quarter, with total sales off 14 per cent and same-store sales falling 10 per cent.

ExxonMobil was off 0.5 per cent after announcing a US$4.5 billion cut in investment spending for this year due to the plunge in oil prices.

Spending would hold at US$34 billion a year through 2017, the Dow member said, as it based its planning on a projected price for Brent crude of around US$55 a barrel.

Shares of Voya Financial, the insurer and retirement firm previously known as ING US, gained 0.5 per cent at US$44.30 after former parent ING Group was able to place a block of 32 million shares it is divesting with underwriters at US$44.20 a share.

Among leading Dow losers, Caterpillar was down 1.3 per cent and AT&T fell 1.2 per cent.

Alibaba jumped 4.8 per cent on news of its data center challenge to Amazon. The company's Aliyun unit, which already competes with Amazon Web Services in China, will offer cloud services from the new Silicon Valley installation. Amazon lost 0.5 per cent.

Bond prices were unchanged. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury held at 2.12 per cent, while the 30-year was 2.71 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.


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