US stocks : Dow off 0.3 pct
The two-day decline marked the U.S. stock market's first sustained pullback this year. The Standard & Poor's 500 has fallen 1.8 percent over the period and just managed to hold the 1,500 level on Thursday. Still, the index is up 5.3 percent so far this year.
The abrupt reversal in markets, which started on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's January meeting suggested stimulus measures may end earlier than thought, looks set to halt a seven-week winning streak for stocks that had lifted the Dow and the S&P 500 close to all-time highs.
Wall Street will soon face another test with the upcoming debate in Washington over the automatic across-the-board spending cuts put in place as part of a larger congressional budget fight. Those cuts, set to kick in on March 1 unless lawmakers agree on an alternative, could depress the economy.
Semiconductor stocks ranked among the weakest of the day, pressuring the Nasdaq as the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index fell 1.8 percent. Intel Corp fell 2.3 percent to $20.25 while Advanced Micro Devices lost 3.7 percent to $2.60 as the S&P 500's biggest percentage decliner.
The Dow also got a helping hand from personal computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co, which rose 2.3 percent to end the regular session at $17.10. The company was scheduled due to report first-quarter results after the closing bell.
Shares of Boeing Co rose 1.6 percent to $76.01 as a senior executive
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