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Stocks Finish Mixed as Bonds Slump

At the same time, the New York Fed's Empire state survey showed that the general business conditions index weakened to negative 5.85 in August from 7.39 July.

"From a market standpoint, today's data works in favor of those believing the Fed is more likely to ease policy in coming months," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. "Core prices appear to have topped out for now while headline prices have been pushing lower since the middle of 2011. The FOMC will not like that very much."

"The Empire Manufacturing survey is our first look at the manufacturing sector each month and in August, our first look was not good," he added. "The report isn't entirely negative per se but it's certainly broadly negative."

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve said industrial production rose 0.6% in July, after increasing by a downwardly revised 0.1% in June, due to a weather-related 1.3% gain in utilities output and a 1.2% increase in mining output. Capacity utilization rose to 79.3% after increasing to 78.9% the month before. On average, economists had predicted that industrial production would rise 0.5% and that capacity utilization would rise to 79.2%.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gained two points to 37 in August, showing that builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes improved for a fourth straight month. This gain brings the index to its highest level since February 2007. Economists thought the index would stay at 35.

September crude oil futures settled up 90 cents at $94.33 a barrel and December gold futures added $4.20 to settle at $1,606.60 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was seeing another heavy decline, losing 21/32, raising the yield to 1.815%. The greenback was up 0.15%, according to the dollar index.

The FTSE in London finished down 0.54% and the DAX in Germany closed 0.40% lower.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng index closed lower by 1.18% and the Nikkei in Japan finished down 0.05%.
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