Stocks closed lower on Wall Street after a report showed the US economy unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter, putting the brakes on a January rally that has pushed stocks toward record levels.
Stocks rose on Wall Street Tuesday as the Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,954. The January rally looked as if it was running out of steam yesterday as stocks pulled back from their highs, but Tuesday stocks resumed their ascent toward record levels.
Stocks meandered between small gains and losses Monday, cooling off after a rally that had pushed the Standard & Poor's 500 index above 1,500 for the first time since December 2007. Stocks fell late in the day after a report on the pace of home sales fell short of expectations.