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Stocks drift in afternoon trading as a rally fades

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 12, 2014 at 2:09 pm •  Published: February 12, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were mixed Wednesday as investors assessed news from some big U.S. companies. Major indexes jumped a day earlier after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she would continue the central bank's market-friendly, low-interest rate policies.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell three points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,816 as of 3:06 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 56 points, or 0.4 percent, at 15,939. The Nasdaq composite rose five points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,196.

CURRENCY PINCH: Procter & Gamble, the world's largest household products maker, fell $1.33, or 1.7 percent, to $77.50 after the company lowered its sales and earnings outlook due to recent declines in emerging market currencies against the dollar. Currencies in developing countries such as Turkey, South Africa and Argentina have slumped against the dollar this year.

CHINA TRADE: The stock market got some support from the latest economic data out of China. Trade growth in the Chinese economy accelerated in January. Fears about a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy roiled stock markets in January.

"It's reassuring that we're not seeing another sign of weakness for China's economic growth," said Kate Warne, an investment strategist at Edward Jones, an investment adviser.

STOCK RECOVERY: The stock market has rebounded in the past week after slumping earlier on concern that growth in China and other emerging economies was set to slow. Concern about the health of the U.S. economy also helped push stocks lower.

The S&P 500 lost almost 6 percent for the year by Feb. 3, but has since pared that loss to 1.5 percent thanks to gains in materials, health care and technology stocks. All three sectors have jumped 4.6 percent over the past week.

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