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U.S. stocks opened mostly lower on Wednesday as Wall Street began what could be another day of price consolidation even though the employment data continues to improve. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 16 points to 12,790. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dipped 2 point to 1,354. The Nasdaq Composite Index inched up 2 points to 2,844. The earnings keep coming in better than expected, but we do see some profit-taking. First Solar, Plantronics, XL Capital, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Peet's Coffee, and Las Vegas Sands, Kellogg, Devon Energy, Anheuser Busch, and Agrium are all lower following earnings. The commodities have taken it on the chin lately. The price of silver is down 20% in the last couple of days. Nothing in the commodity space looks good. Chesapeake Energy and Transocean were upgraded, but both are lower. A few stocks are sharply higher following earnings. Green Mountain Coffee is jumping 20% following earnings. AOL, RR Donnelly, and MGM look great following earnings. A couple of deals today. Chip equipment maker Varian is jumping 51% on a takeover offer from Applied Materials. Ralcorp is jumping 6% after ConAgra raised their takeover offer for the firm. Other than that, not many stocks are higher. Through the morning the averages pushed lower with the Dow dropping over 100 points and the Nasdaq declining 30 points. Only a handful of blue chips are higher. Interestingly the old guard techs are higher like HP, Microsoft, Intel, and Dell. In the last hour the averages remained weak, but improved into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 83 points at 12,723, led by a 2.2% drop in Caterpillar shares and a 1.8% retreat in General Electric. The S&P 500 fell 9 points to 1,347, with energy and materials leading a drop in all sectors. The Nasdaq Composite lost 13 points to 2,828.
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