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Stocks Mixed Amid China Growth Concerns, Herbalife Plummets

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. stock markets closed mixed on Wednesday as Chinese growth concerns lingered and the U.S. threatened Russia with sanctions over the situation in Ukraine.

  • The S&P 500 increased 0.03% to 1,868.19, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.07% to 16,340.01. The Nasdaq was up 0.37% to 4,323.33.
  • Herbalife  (HLF - Get Report) shares slumped 7.4% after the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday opened a civil inquiry into the company's practices.
  • Pfizer (PFE - Get Report) was the top laggard in the Dow, down 1.4% after a U.S. court ruled against the pharmaceutical company's Celebrex patent. 
  • Other key losers included PulteGroup (PHM) and Toll Brothers (TOL), which fell 1.3% and 0.61%, respectively, after being downgraded by Credit Suisse.
  • Men's Wearhouse (MW) shares were off 2.5% after the company said on Tuesday that it will buy Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (JOSB) in a deal worth around $1.8 billion.
  • General Motors (GM) fell 0.91% as Reuters reported the automaker may face criminal charges after the recall of 1.6 million vehicles.
  • General Mills (GIS) increased 1.2% after announcing an 8% quarterly dividend hike to 41 cents a share.
  • Express (EXP) dipped 0.42% after falling 2 cents short of fourth-quarter earnings expectations at 57 cents a share and disappointing on the top line as well.
  • European industrial production fell unexpectedly in January as energy output dropped. Factory output fell 0.2% from December, according to the European Union's statistics office. Expectations had been for a 0.5% rise.
  • Global markets were lower Wednesday amid lingering concerns about a possible slowdown in China. Germany's DAX settled down 1.28% while the FTSE in London was 0.97% lower. The Hang Seng finished down 1.65% while the Nikkei in Japan declined 2.59%.
  • In other news, Europe and the U.S. continue to threaten to impose sanctions against Russia ahead of a vote this weekend to decide whether the Crimea should become part of Russia. Authorities continue to search for a missing Malaysian Airlines jet, though the prospect of terrorism has been largely ruled out.

-- Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York

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