views

NEW YORK REPORT

US stocks fell yesterday as investors worried the Federal Reserve is closer to pulling back on extraordinary measures to inject funding to shore up the economy.<br /><br />The Fed&rsquo;s policy-setters met and kept interest rates unchanged, as expected, but they also said the US central bank would slow its programme of purchasing mortgage debt to its life until end-March. <br /><br />Among the casualties were banks, housing stocks and energy shares. The Dow Jones home construction index slid 3.4 per cent, while the S&amp;P energy index declined 2 per cent, a decline that coincided with a sharp slide in crude oil prices.<br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average shed 81.32 points, or 0.83 per cent, to 9,748.55. The Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 index declined 10.79 points, or 1.01 per cent, to 1,060.87. The Nasdaq Composite index lost 14.88 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 2,131.42.<br /><br />Initially stocks had risen sharply following the Fed&rsquo;s comment that economic activity was picking up, but in the last hour of trading the market reversed course as investors fretted about the timing of the removal of some of the Fed&rsquo;s stimulus measures.<br /><br />Among banks, <strong>Jeopardy&nbsp;</strong> fell 3.03 per cent to $45.06, making the stock the Dow top drag. The S&amp;P financial index lost 2.1 per cent.<br /><br />Housebuilder Toll Brothers fell 3.4 per cent to $20.68. In energy, Chevron fell 1.7 per cent to $71.73.