Stock market: Stocks mostly down after biggest day of the year

Stock market was down early Wednesday afternoon, with the traders worried about the US debt limit. Still, Tuesday's strong gains left the three major indexes of the stock market in positive territory for the month.

By , Associated Press

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    In this July 18, 2011 photo, specialist Donald Civitanova, right, directs trades at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. US stocks slipped Wednesday, following Tuesday's stock market rally.
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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks inched down Wednesday, a day after the Dow Jones industrial average had its biggest gain this year. Traders are weighing concern about the U.S. debt limit against strong earnings from Apple and a slew of new deals.

Apple Inc. rose 3 percent after the company's income doubled last quarter, trumping analysts' estimates. Sales of the company's iPhones quadrupled in Asia.

American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corp., rose 2.4 percent after announcing an order for 460 planes, split between Boeing and Airbus. The new planes are expected to save money on fuel. Rising fuel prices left the airline with a loss of 85 cents a share, larger than analysts expected. The airline also said it would spin off its American Eagle subsidiary.

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The Dow was down 10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,576 in early afternoon trading. United Technologies Corp.'s dropped more than 2 percent, tugging down the Dow Jones industrial average.

The S&P 500 index is down 1 point to 1,325. The Nasdaq was down 11 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,815.

Stronger profits from Coca-Cola Co. and IBM Corp. along with apparent progress in raising the U.S. debt limit prompted a stock market rally Tuesday. The Dow gained 202 points, its best day this year.

Clorox rose more than 3 percent after billionaire investor Carl Icahn raised his bid for the company to $80 a share. The consumer products company rejected his previous offer.

E-Trade Financial Corp. jumped 15 percent, the most of any stock in the S&P 500 index. E-Trade's largest shareholder urged the online discount brokerage to consider putting itself up for sale. In a letter to E-Trade disclosed in a regulatory filing, the money manager Citadel LLC called for changes to the company's board, saying E-Trade's "phenomenal franchise" had been "squandered."

The stock of Zillow, a real estate website, nearly doubled in its first day of trading. Zillow's initial public offering priced at $20 late Tuesday. In early afternoon trading, it was trading at $39.

Cleaning and pest-control services company Ecolab Inc. said it would buy the water treatment company Nalco Holding Co. for $5.4 billion. Nalco soared 24 percent while Ecolab dropped 8 percent.

Tuesday's rally turned the three major indexes positive for the month. The Dow and Nasdaq are now up more than 1 percent in July. The S&P 500 is up 0.4 percent.

Intel Corp. and American Express Co. are scheduled to report earnings after the market closes.

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