NEW YORK: Stocks fell Wednesday after the biggest four-day jump in a year for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, as declines in companies from Procter & Gamble Co. to Amazon.com Inc. overshadowed optimism about economic growth.
Procter & Gamble lost 1.7 percent after the world’s largest consumer-products maker cut its forecasts for profit and sales growth.
Amazon.com slid 3.5 percent after UBS AG lowered the online retailer’s rating.
Dow Chemical Co. fell 1 percent as an internal review concluded a breakup plan would reduce the company’s value.
TripAdvisor Inc. jumped 7.2 percent as fourth-quarter revenue beat analysts’ estimates.
The S&P 500 fell less than 0.1 percent to 1,819.27 after gaining as much as 0.4 percent earlier in the day. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 30.50 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,964.27.
“We’re taking a breather here,” said Phil Orlando, New York-based chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors Inc., which oversees about $376 billion. “Washington has essentially gotten out of the way, [Janet] Yellen has told us monetary policy will be a continuation of what we’ve seen and we have a sense of what’s going to happen with the taper.”
The S&P 500 advanced 3.9 percent in the previous four days, the biggest gain for that stretch since January 2013. The benchmark gauge jumped 1.1 percent Tuesday as comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen fueled optimism the economy can weather further stimulus cuts.
Yellen, 67, delivering her first public remarks as Fed chair, said economic growth has strengthened and there is “broad improvement” in the labor market.
She repeated the Fed’s outlook for further stimulus reductions in “measured steps,” adding that only a “notable change in the outlook” for the economy would prompt policy makers to slow the pace.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Wednesday that he expects economic expansion in 2014 of 3 percent or better. “Right now I think we’re on track” to continue tapering asset purchases and “will be able to move out of the program later this year,” he said.