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Stocks close down on quiet day

Trader Theodore Nelson, left, works on the floor

Trader Theodore Nelson, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday, March 7, 2014. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Without any big economic news or blowout company earnings to respond to, investors found little to get excited about Tuesday and sent the stock market lower for the second day in a row.

A few companies grabbed headlines for posting poor quarterly results or consummating long-running merger talks Tuesday. But the broader market barely budged for much of the day, then closed slightly lower.

Investors didn't see enough that they liked to drive up a market that hit three record highs last week.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 0.51 percent to close at 1,867.63. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 67.43 points to 16,351.25. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.63 percent to 4,307.19.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are both up for the year, though they lost some ground from the start of the week. The S&P 500 is up 1 percent, while the Nasdaq is up 3.1 percent. The Dow is down 1.4 percent so far this year.

The declines were broad. Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index fell, led by energy stocks. The one sector that rose, consumer staples, eked out a gain of just 0.01 percent. -- AP

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