U.S. stocks fall as data points to Fed stimulus end

AFP-JIJI, AP

U.S. stocks ended lower Tuesday as more data and comments from Federal Reserve officials pointed to the likely pullback in the central bank’s stimulus in the coming months.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 93.39 points, or 0.60 percent, to end at 15,518.74. The broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 9.77, or 0.57 percent, to 1,697.37, while the tech-rich Nasdaq composite lost 27.18, or 0.74 percent, to close at 3,665.77.

Stocks lost ground for the second day after last week’s new records amid more indications that the Fed will begin winding up its $85 billion-a-month quantitative easing program. The U.S. Commerce Department’s trade data for June showed a narrowing trade deficit that analysts said points to a likely upward revision to the growth estimate for the quarter, and firm growth in the current quarter.

Meanwhile, the chiefs of the Fed’s Chicago and Atlanta branches both said that the Federal Reserve could begin tapering the quantitative easing program in September, but stressed that economic growth needed to hold steady or improve.

Among stocks, The Washington Post Co. gained 4.3 percent following news that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is buying its struggling flagship newspaper for $250 million.

Analysts say The newspaper company, which will change its name after the sale, could be positioned to gain from its non-newspaper assets, which include Kaplan education services. Shares of Amazon, which is not a party to the deal, slipped 0.1 percent.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares fell 0.2 percent to close at 6,604.21, while Germany’s DAX fell 1.2 percent to 8,299.73. The CAC-40 in France ended 0.4 percent lower at 4,032.57.