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S&P 500 index falls after 4 days of record closes

Oct. 24, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- A four-day streak of record closes ended for the Standard & Poor's 500 index Wednesday after Caterpillar reported weak earnings and falling oil prices hurt energy stocks.

Caterpillar, which makes mining and construction equipment, is considered an important barometer of the global economy. The plunge in Caterpillar's third-quarter profit discouraged investors and stalled a two-week surge in the stock market. Energy stocks dropped as the price of oil fell to its lowest in almost four months.

The S&P 500 fell 8.29 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,746.38, ending its longest streak of record closes since mid-May.

In other trading Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 54.33 points, or 0.4 percent, to 15,413.33. The index of 30 leading U.S. companies hasn't rallied like the S&P 500 index, and remains 263 points below its own all-time closing high reached on Sept. 18.

The Nasdaq composite dropped 22.49 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,907.07, ending a five-day streak of higher closes.

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