Stocks Pause on Slowdown Worries

Stocks paused to digest their sharp gains of a day earlier Wednesday, as investors mulled mixed economic signals and awaited Friday’s monthly jobs report.

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book summary of economic conditions noted some slowing and a slight increase in wage pressures, but otherwise said growth remains modest. Coupled with rising energy prices, the news was all investors needed to take some money off the table.

Upgrades did little to boost shares of Google and Yahoo , as both ended the day lower.

Fairchild Semi lost 1.6% after saying it expects a 3-6% decline in quarterly sales, in line with previous guidance.

EFJ , Hypercom and Plato Learning fell on their results.

Cypress Semi rose 4.5% on a convertible offering.

Jupitermedia , publisher of this Web site, fell 17% after terminating merger talks with Getty .

The Nasdaq lost 10 to 2374, the S&P 500 slipped 3 to 1391, and the Dow gave back 15 to 12,192. Volume declined to 3.18 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.07 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancing issues led by a few shares on the NYSE, while decliners led 17-13 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 51% on the NYSE, and 28% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 74-28 on the NYSE, and 64-71 on the Nasdaq.

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