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Stocks slip as investors weigh economic news and the outlook for the Fed's stimulus

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Stocks are ending mostly lower as investors weigh conflicting economic reports and assess the outlook for Federal Reserve stimulus.

Major U.S. indexes moved between gains and losses before ending lower Wednesday.

Conflicting news about the economy left investors unsure about when the Fed will reduce its monthly bond purchases, which have been supporting financial markets. The Fed’s next meeting is in two weeks.

The latest bout of investor anxiety came ahead of the government’s closely watched employment report due out on Friday.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 24 points, or 0.2 per cent, to close at 15,889.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell two points, or 0.1 per cent, to 1,792. The Nasdaq composite was flat at 4,038.

Sears slumped after the CEO cut his stake in the company.