A sign for Wall Street is seen just outside the New York Stock Exchange.(Photo: Timothy A. Clary, AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK (AP) - Wall Street is having a difficult time shrugging off doubts about the economy and government gridlock.
Mixed economic reports and concern about a government shutdown dragged stocks lower in the final half-hour of trading yesterday. They had been positive most of the day.
The modest losses extended the losing streak for Standard & Poor's 500 index to four days. It was the longest run of declines in a month. The Dow Jones industrial average also dropped for a fourth straight day.
Investors struggled with conflicting news about the economy. One report showed that home prices in July rose the most in more than seven years. Another showed that Americans' confidence in the economy slipped in September.
Investors are searching for direction after the Federal Reserve's surprise decision last Wednesday to keep its stimulus program intact. They had expected a reduction in the Fed's $85 billion in monthly bond purchases. Investors are now parsing economic reports and comments from Fed officials to gauge the central bank's next move.