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Business & Technology

November 7, 2013

Weak earnings reports stall stocks

NEW YORK — The stock market is taking a break from its record-breaking run.

Some weak corporate earnings reports on Tuesday held the market back, pushing the major indexes slightly lower.

Tenet Healthcare plunged after the hospital operator issued a disappointing outlook for this quarter and said that its third-quarter profit fell, in part because of costs associated with a big acquisition. Freight forwarder Expeditors International dropped after missing analysts’ expectations for profit and revenue.

The market is still close to record levels after a surge that has put the Standard & Poor’s 500 index on track for its best performance since 2009. Stocks have advanced this year as the Federal Reserve kept up its stimulus program to help the U.S. economy recover.

Investors are struggling, however, to find more catalysts to push the market higher. Investors already expect the Fed to keep up its stimulus until at least next year, and company earnings may start to flag if economic growth remains in the doldrums.

“We’re going to run out of steam here,” said Scott Wren, a senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.

The S&P 500 index dropped 4.96 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,762.97. The index is nine points below its record close of 1,771.95 set Oct. 29.

The index is up 0.4 percent this month, a muted gain compared with October, when it rose 4.5 percent as investors bet that the Fed would continue with its economic stimulus after a 16-day government shutdown crimped growth and hurt consumer confidence.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 20.90 points to 15,618.22.

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