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US stocks slightly retreated from record levels amid taperless Fed

stocksnewspaperU.S. stocks fell after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rallied to a record yesterday on the Federal Reserve’s decision to refrain from cutting stimulus as investors weighed economic data.

The S&P 500 fell 0.2% to 1,722.34 at 4 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 40.39 points, or 0.3%, to 15,636.55. About 6.8 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 13% above the three-month average.

“It’s been essentially a bleeding off of some of the party atmosphere from yesterday,” Kevin Caron, a Florham Park, New Jersey-based market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., which oversees about $150 billion, said by phone. “At some point the market’s got to take a breather and I think today’s that day. There’s no real catalyst today in the data.”

Economic data yesterday showed sales of previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly soared in August to the highest level in more than six years as buyers rushed to lock in interest rates before they rise further. Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region expanded in September at the fastest pace since March 2011, a sign factories are picking up momentum.

Among other reports, the Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators increased 0.7% in August. Jobless claims in the U.S. rose less than forecast last week.

In corporate news, Walt Disney dropped 2.1% to $65.72. Morgan Stanley cut Disney to “equalweight” from “overweight”, its first downgrade of the shares in more than four years, saying the company’s growth now depends more on its creative success. Disney delayed the Pixar film “The Good Dinosaur” by 18 months, leaving the animation studio that produced “Toy Story” without an annual release for the first time since 2005.

Priceline, the largest U.S. online travel agency by market value, gained 0.6% to $1,000.62. It climbed to as much $1,001 in intraday trading yesterday, the first time a stock in the S&P 500 changed hands at a four-digit price, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices, which compiles the indicator.

Tesla Motors Inc. climbed 7 percent to $177.92. Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache said in a note the electric car maker is on track to “modestly” outperform margin expectations for the third quarter and raised his price target to $200 from $160.

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