Fed announcement helps curtail Wall Street losses

US stocks fell yesterday but closed off their lows after the Federal Reserve said it would take new steps to counter a weak recovery.

The Dow, which was down about 100 points before the Fed's announcement, briefly turned positive, though buying interest waned on the Fed’s more pessimistic assessment of the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 54.50 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 10,644.25. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 6.73 points, or 0.60 per cent, at 1,121.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 28.52 points, or 1.24 per cent, at 2,277.17.

Tech companies pressured the Nasdaq, with chipmakers Intel and Advanced Micro Devices falling on analysts’ downgrades, while Novell dropped a day after cutting its third-quarter revenue outlook. Intel, a Dow component, lost four per cent to $19.82 while AMD lost eight per cent to $6.83 and Novell sank 3.2 per cent to $5.82. Walt Disney rose 1.4 per cent in extended trading.