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Stocks Trip at the Finish Line

Stocks in this article: MSFT AA GE AXP MRK HD

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks faded late and finished in negative territory Monday, continuing a recent trend that's seen acute moves near the closing bell. Investors began the day buoyed by news that China will allow more flexibility in its currency , but the major averages deteriorated late as enthusiasm about the move faded.

After gaining over 100 points earlier in the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down by eight points, or 0.1%, at 10,442, and the S&P 500 lost 4 points, or 0.4%, to 1113. The Nasdaq also fell below the flat-line late, falling behind by 21 points, or 0.9%, at 2289.

"The news that China is going to allow the yuan to move a little, well, is it really that significant? Probably not. But there was a big upward reaction to that in the morning," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, just before the close. "But in reality, there wasn't anything overwhelming to justify 150 points. I think people are just looking at the economic news vacuum and are maybe taking a little profits off the table. I think the end-of-the-day trade right now is really because there really isn't any news out there."

But the decision spurred a rally across global markets on Monday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng soared 3.1%, and Japan's Nikkei jumped 2.4%. The FTSE in London climbed 0.9%, and the DAX in Frankfurt gained 1.2%.

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