Wednesday stocks fall as euro worries fester

Dow closes at 11,457, minus 19 points

NEW YORK (AP) — Early gains in the stock market evaporated Wednesday after worries about Europe’s debt crisis overshadowed signs of growth in the U.S. Bond prices fell, sending long-term interest rates higher again.
The euro fell 1.2 percent against the dollar after Moody’s said that it may lower Spain’s credit rating. The stronger dollar hurts U.S. companies that do a lot of business overseas. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index, the broadest measure of large U.S. companies, fell 0.5 percent.
Stock prices started the day higher after reports showed that U.S. manufacturing industry is growing and inflation remains under control. The Federal Reserve said U.S. factory output rose for the fifth straight month in November. A separate report showed that consumer prices stayed flat last month.
In the late afternoon, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a $858 billion package that will extend tax cuts passed during the Bush administration for another two years. The measure now goes to the House, where it is expected to pass despite complaints by Democrats over what they see as overly generous estate tax rates for the rich.

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