New Year’s Rally Turns Rocky

Stocks got off to a strong start to the new year on Wednesday, but concern about slowing growth and rising inflation undid the rally.

Stocks rose early on a rebound in manufacturing, better than expected December sales at Wal-Mart and a change at the top at Home Depot , but Federal Reserve meeting minutes showing concern about both economic growth and inflation sparked a steep sell-off before stocks climbed back to end the day little changed.

Downgrades to AMD , Amazon and GM also weighed on stocks.

Carreker rose on news that it will be acquired by Checkfree .

Agilysys soared after selling its distribution businesses to Arrow, while Alcatel Lucent gained after picking up Nortel’s UMTS radio access business.

Sonus gained 7% on its outlook.

The Nasdaq rose 8 to 2423, the S&P 500 slipped 1 to 1416, and the Dow added 11 to 12,474. Volume soared to 3.38 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.53 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 17-15 on the NYSE, and 16-15 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 47% on the NYSE, and 65% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 324-36 on the NYSE, and 150-46 on the Nasdaq.

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