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Stocks Deepen Losses on Fed's Remarks About Stimulus

In early January, the FOMC announced surprise dissension among its members as a few said the central bank's highly accommodative policy should end well before the end of 2013, while others argued its longer-term Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities purchasing programs should conclude by the end of 2013. Still, some said the Fed should continue its highly accommodative policy for the near future.

Gold futures for April delivery plummeted $26.20 to settle at $1,578 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while futures for April crude oil contracts plunged $1.88 to $95.22 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury added 6/32 to dilute the yield to 2.011%. The dollar was popping 0.67%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, Office Depot (ODP) said it would acquire competitor OfficeMax (OMX) in a stock transaction that valued OfficeMax at $13.50 a share. A joint-company statement said Office Depot would offer to OfficeMax stockholders 2.69 of its common shares for every 1 share of OfficeMax. Office Depot shares sank 16%, while OfficeMax shares dropped 7%.

Dell (DELL) announced fourth-quarter earnings of 40 cents a share on $14.3 billion in revenue, which was off 11% year-over-year, but up 4% from the fiscal third quarter. Analysts expected 39 cents a share on $14.1 billion. Shares closed up 0.2%.

Dell didn't provide an outlook for the first quarter as it cited the company's recent move to go private.

Tesla Motors (TSLA - Get Report) reported a fourth-quarter adjusted loss of 65 cents a share on $306 million in revenue. Consensus among analysts expected a fourth-quarter loss of 53 cents a share on $298.9 million in revenue. Shares of the electric-car maker was down 3% in after-hours trading.

Toll Brothers (TOL) reported a profit of 3 cents a share on revenue of $424.6 million. The report came in worse than expected as analysts were forecasting a profit of 11 cents a share on $500.6 million in revenue. The company said its backlog at Jan. 31 was $1.86 billion, which was up 66% from a year earlier. Shares were down 9.1% on Wednesday.

Electronics giant Sony (SNE) was expected to unveil its latest gaming console, the PlayStation 4. The company is holding the event in New York. American depositary receipts shed 1.2%.

Dish Network (DISH) reported earnings of 46 cents a share on revenue of $3.59 billion. Revenue dropped from a year earlier, while earnings fell from 70 cents a year earlier. Analysts were looking for 51 cents a share on revenue of $3.56 billion. Shares shed 0.2%.

Herbalife (HLF - Get Report) reported earnings and revenue rose in the fourth quarter. The stock has received much attention as investors Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman have publicly disagreed over the worth of the company. Shares lost 4.9%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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