Losses stabilize 1 day after sell-off

Traders work the floor of the New York

Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday as stock prices pulled up from the huge sell-off Tuesday. (Oct. 24, 2012) (Credit: AP)

The steep losses stopped yesterday as the stock market turned calm, a day after one of its biggest sell-offs of the year. Indexes ended with slight losses after the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy still needs support.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 25.19 points at 13,077.34, a day after one of its worst drops this year.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.31 percent to close at 1,408.75 while the Nasdaq composite index fell 0.29 percent to 2,981.70.

"Today we're assessing the damage," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott. "Everybody just got clobbered yesterday."

Lower corporate revenue and expectations for the rest of the year drove the Dow down 243 points Tuesday, its third-biggest drop this year. DuPont, 3M, UPS and Xerox all reported lower sales than a year ago.

“It seemed out of the blue, but what we were seeing was stock prices adjusting to corporate profitability,” Luschini said.

The market flitted between small gains and losses for much of the day. Indexes started to fade after 2 p.m., after the Fed repeated its assessment that the U.S. economic recovery remains modest at best.

Third-quarter earnings reports have mainly disappointed investors. The Dow has risen just one day in the last five.

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