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Dow Finishes Up Despite Slowdown Signs

Stocks held gains as eurozone debt fears abated, even after the Fed's beige book noted decelerating growth in many regions. Deb Borchardt tells The Real Story.



) -- Stocks finished higher Wednesday, holding gains made on abating eurozone debt concerns, even after both the

Federal Reserve's latest beige book report and afternoon comments from President Obama emphasized a slowdown in the economic recovery.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

gained 46 points, or 0.5%, to close at 10,387. The

S&P 500

added 7 points, or 0.6%, to 1099 and the


finished 20 points, or 0.9% higher at 2229.

Earlier European markets finished higher with the FTSE in London ending 0.4% higher and the DAX in Frankfurt gaining 0.8% after the Portuguese government successfully sold three-year and 10-year debt worth $1.3 billion. The auctions saw strong demand, which mitigated concerns and helped to offset weak data that showed a slowdown in German exports.

Asian markets, meanwhile, were lower Wednesday as the yen touched a 15-year high against the dollar. Japan's Nikkei shed 2.2%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 1.5%.

U.S. stocks came off their session highs in the wake of the release of the

Federal Reserve's

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beige book

, which recounted "widespread signs of deceleration" despite continued tepid growth.

Around the same time, President Obama pointed to the struggling economy as the motivating force behind a series of new proposals aimed at boosting growth, including a $50-billion infrastructure spending package, new research and development tax credits and a proposal that would allow companies to hasten write-offs on new plants and equipment through 2011. Speaking in Cleveland, the President argued against extending tax breaks to the wealthy, saying he foresaw an America where "the middle class is the economy's heart beat."

Peter Tuz of Chase Investment Council believes that the measures are priced in and are unlikely to resolve the uncertainties for U.S. businesses. "Personally, I think they (the proposals) are band-aids, short-term measures," he said ahead of the speech. "Getting clarity on tax-rates, health care costs is important to businesses to be able to make decisions to hire a person. I don't think today's moves- while nice- will make forecasting any easier.".

Also during the late afternoon session, the Fed said July consumer credit fell $3.63 billion, extending June's drop of $1.02 billion in June.

Eased EU bank fears

bolstered the financial sector Wednesday and


(JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. Report

was among the Dow's top performers after


(AA) - Get Alcoa Corporation Report


In corporate news,


(BP) - Get BP Plc Report

released its report on the oil spill on Wednesday morning. The company said that no single factor caused the spill. The stock gained 3.2% to $38.42.

Shares of


(HPQ) - Get HP Inc. Report

declined by 2.8% to $38.81 as the Mark Hurd saga continued. On Tuesday, Oracle named the former HP CEO as co-president, sending Oracle shares higher. Soon after the news broke,

HP filed a lawsuit against Hurd for breach of contract.

Reacting to the move,

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said the HP lawsuit was "vindictive" and that it would impact the companies' working relationship. Oracle shares lost 0.5% to $24.14.

Rio Tinto's stock

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rose 0.9% to $53.50 following reports that it is eyeing a Russian potash producer.

U.K. telecommunications company


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said it would sell its 3.2% stake in China mobile for 4.3 billion pounds, or $6.65 billion. The stock gained 1.2% to $24.76.

JA Solar


shares soared 11.7% to $7.24, following its announcement that it had already booked 500 megawatts worth of cell shipments for 2011.

Women's apparel retailer



saw its stock fall 1.3% to $10.97 after it missed sales estimates in the second quarter.

Shares of truck builder


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shed 7% to $41.27 after it cut its revenue outlook for 2010 even as it beat Wall Street estimates in the third quarter.

Shares of


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rose 3% to $146 after it announced a new partnership that would expand its streaming video library.


(CIEN) - Get Ciena Corporation Report

stock added 5.1% to $14.12 after the optical networking specialist posted narrower-than-expected losses, even as it offered a more cautious outlook.

New York Times

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gained 8% to $8.38 on speculation that Carlos Slim may have plans to bid for the company.

Questcor Pharma


saw its stock spike 7.9% to $10.38 on expectations that U.S. regulators will approve its drug to treat infantile spasms.

Onyx Pharmaceuticals


announced that it had sold Japanese rights of its multiple myeloma drug candidate carfilzomib to Japanese drug maker

Ono Pharmaceuticals

. Onyx's stock advanced 1.9% to $25.75.

In commodity markets, crude oil for October delivery gained 59 cents, or 0.8%, to settle at $74.67 a barrel.

After the close of trading, the American Petroleum Institute said crude oil inventories declined by 7.31 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 3, significantly exceeding analysts' expectations from a drawdown of 730,000 barrels, according to Platts. The Energy Information Administration will release its weekly oil supply report on Thursday morning, a half an hour after it issues its weekly read on natural gas storage levels.


December gold contract lost $1.80, or 0.1%, to settle at $1,257.50 an ounce. Gold prices rose to a new high on Tuesday as investors flocked to safe-haven assets.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 16/32, lifting the yield to 2.654%.

Meanwhile, the dollar traded weaker against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index lower by 0.3%.

--Written by Shanthi Venkataraman and Melinda Peer in New York


Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.