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Stocks fall as Dow drops below 15,000

Stocks closed lower Wednesday and the Dow Jones industrial average fell 126.79 points to close at 14,995.23. Video-game shops, restaurants, and retailers led stocks downward push.

By Matthew CraftAP Business Writer / June 12, 2013

Trader Michael Iozzi and specialist trader John Urbanowicz (R) work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks have turned turbulent in recent weeks as traders start preparing for a time when the Fed and central banks in Europe and Japan aren't pumping as much money into the financial system.

Brendan McDermid/Reuters/File

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New York

Video-game shops, restaurants and retailers led the stock market lower Wednesday.

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Without any good news to drive the market up, investors grappled with the question hanging over financial markets: When will the Federal Reserve and other central banks pull back their economic stimulus programs?

Markets have turned turbulent in recent weeks as traders start preparing for a time when the Fed and central banks in Europe and Japan aren't pumping as much money into the financial system.

"There's nothing concrete out there to turn us around today," Russell Croft, co-portfolio manager at the Croft Value Fund in Baltimore. "So naturally enough, people are back to thinking about the Fed."

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 126.79 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 14,995.23. The Dow had its first three-day stretch of losses this year and is down 1.7 percent for the week.

A rout in global markets helped pull the Dow down 116 points Tuesday. The selling started after the Bank of Japan decided not to make any new attempt to spur growth in the world's third-largest economy.

In other trading Wednesday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 13.61 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,612.52. All 10 industry groups in the index dropped, led by consumer-discretionary and utility companies.

Two of the top-performing stocks in the S&P 500 this year, Netflix and BestBuy, led consumer-discretionary companies down. Netflix lost $6.82, or 3 percent, to $207.64. Consumer electronics retailer BestBuy dropped $1.01, or 4 percent, to $26.88. GameStop fell $1.13, or 3 percent, to $36.69.

The S&P 500, the stock-market benchmark for most investment funds, has lost 3.4 percent since reaching a record high on May 21. The next day, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank could decide to scale down its bond-buying program in the coming months if the economy looks strong enough.

Since then, the discussion among investors has centered on what will happen when the Fed shifts course. "'Tapering' is definitely the word of the month," Croft said.

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