US stocks turn mixed in midday trading



U.S. stocks were mixed in midday trading Wednesday as investors assessed news from some big U.S. companies. Stocks jumped a day earlier after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she would continue the central bank's market-friendly, low-interest rate policies.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index was little changed at 1,819 as of 12:19 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 38 points, or less than 0.1 percent, at 15,988. The Nasdaq composite rose seven points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,198.

CURRENCY PINCH: Procter & Gamble, the world's largest household products maker, fell $1.60, or 2 percent, to $77.24 after the company lowered its sales and earnings outlook due to recent declines in emerging market currencies against the dollar. Currencies in developing countries such as Turkey, South Africa and Argentina have slumped against the dollar this year.

CHINA TRADE: The stock market got some support from the latest economic data out of China. Trade growth in the Chinese economy accelerated in January. Fears about a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy roiled stock markets in January.

"It's reassuring that we're not seeing another sign of weakness for China's economic growth," said Kate Warne, an investment strategist at Edward Jones, an investment adviser.

PRIME TIME: fell $11.81, or 3.3 percent, to $349.82 after analysts at UBS lowered their rating on the stock to "neutral" from "buy" on concern about revenue from the internet retailer's "Prime" customers. Amazon was among the biggest decliners in the S&P 500.

HEALTHY PROFIT: DaVita HealthCare Partners jumped $3.47, or 5.4 percent, to $67.81, a day after the kidney dialysis provider said it reached an agreement to resolve a government investigation and reported fourth-quarter income that soared 36 percent and topped analyst expectations.

ONE TO WATCH: Fossil jumped $6.03, or 5.2 percent, to $122.99 after the watch and accessories company posted earnings that topped Wall Street expectations for the quarter and issued a strong financial outlook for the year.

TREASURYS AND COMMODITIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.76 percent from 2.73 percent on Tuesday. Oil rose 94 cents, or 1 percent, to $100.92 a barrel. The price of gold rose $5.20, or 0.4 percent, to $1,295 an ounce.

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