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U.S. stocks fell, following a three- week advance for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as China reduced its economic growth target and orders to American factories decreased for the first time in three months.
Equities joined a global slump as China pared its growth target to 7.5 percent from an 8 percent goal in place since 2005. Euro-area services output shrank more than estimated, led by Italy and Spain. In the U.S., orders to U.S. factories decreased for the first time in three months. Separately, the Institute for Supply Management’s index of non-manufacturing industries rose to 57.3 in February from 56.8 a month earlier.
Dow 12,913.54 -64.03 -0.49%, Nasdaq 2,944.22 -31.97 -1.07%, S&P 500 1,360.02 -9.61 -0.70%
Companies most-tied to the economy tumbled, sending the Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index down 1.7 percent. Alcoa (AA) lost 3.3 percent to $9.91. Caterpillar (CAT) slid 1.7 percent to $110.60.
Bank of America (ВАС) slumped 2.2 percent to $7.95. Citigroup lost 1.8 percent to $33.50 after naming board member Michael O’Neill to be chairman to succeed Richard Parsons, who is stepping down after overseeing the company’s recovery from near-collapse in 2008.
MetroPCS Communications slipped 4.9 percent to $10.04, while Leap Wireless International Inc. declined 8.2 percent to $9.69. Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. cut its recommendation for the stocks, saying any takeover bids for the carriers would be “fraught with challenges.”
CF Industries Holdings Inc. fell 4.9 percent to $179 after being cut to “neutral” from “buy” at Citigroup Inc. and removed from the firm’s “Top Picks Live” list.
Zynga Inc. slipped 6 percent to $13.81. The biggest developer of games for social-networking sites was cut to neutral from overweight by JPMorgan Chase & Co., meaning the shares are expected to perform in line with the stocks the analyst covers over the next six-to-twelve months.
Big Lots Inc. climbed 3.5 percent, the biggest advance in the S&P 500, to $44.22. The discount retailer was raised to “buy” from “neutral” at Northcoast Research. The 12-month share-price estimate is $53.
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