Stocks Fluctuate on Fed Rate Cut: Dow at 8,847 at noon Wednesday, up 76

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street fluctuated in late afternoon trading Wednesday, as investors’ enthusiasm over the Federal Reserve’s rate cut was dampened by downbeat corporate news.

Stocks declined moderately earlier in the day after a larger-than-expected loss from Morgan Stanley offered fresh evidence of the sizable obstacles the battered financial industry still faces. The company posted a loss of $2.37 billion, or $2.34 per share, for the fiscal fourth quarter. The report came a day after rival Goldman Sachs Group Inc. posted its first quarterly loss since going public in 1999.

Some selling had been expected after Tuesday’s huge rally in which the Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 4 percent and other indexes gained more than 5 percent. The moves came after the central bank lowered its federal funds rate target to a range of zero to 0.25 percent — the lowest levels on record.

After briefly moving into positive territory, stocks fluctuated in midafternoon trading as investors tried to look past concerns about the financial sector and let the magnitude of the Fed’s actions begin to sink in.

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