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US stocks bit higher after 3-day downturn

Dec. 14, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- The rally that has driven stocks to record highs paused this week as investors try to figure out where things are headed next.

Stocks rose slightly on Friday, but not enough to avoid their second weekly loss in a row. Indexes reached record highs as recently as Monday, but then declined.

How come? Investors may be nervous that stocks are overpriced, that stock prices have grown faster than justified by profits. They may be worried about conflict with Iran, or the debate over federal spending. Some are worried the Federal Reserve will decide next week to reduce its economic stimulus, which has boosted stock prices.

"It's a hiatus," said Frank Fantozzi, CEO of money management firm Planned Financial Services. "I really think there's nothing economically wrong."

Fantozzi noted that other bull markets have run for seven or eight years and peaked with higher prices compared to profits than what we're seeing now.

With half an hour before markets close, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 48 points, or 0.3 percent, at 15,787. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up three points, or 0.2 percent, at 1,778. The Nasdaq composite rose nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,007. All three indexes are still down for the week.

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