U.S. Stocks Dive as Stimulus Uncertainties Persist

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks sank Wednesday as uncertainty about the direction of global stimulus programs put a brake on sentiment that the recovery of the world's largest economy may be strengthening.

The S&P 500 fell 0.84% to close at 1,612.52. The decline came after the index rose as much as 0.7% in early trading. The S&P 500 posted its third-consecutive daily decline. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also lost 0.84% and slipped below 15,000 at 14,995.23 while the technology-heavy Nasdaq declined 1.06% to 3,400.43.

"I think a little bit of caution is always good, but just trying to evaluate what does it mean when the Federal Reserve stops giving everybody free money," said Ron Florance, managing director of investment strategy at Wells Fargo Private Bank. "We're in the cycle where instead of buying on the dips, people are selling on the spikes and, I think, re-positioning portfolios for quarter end."

First Solar was the deepest decliner on the S&P a day after the company announced it would offer 8.5 million shares of common stock. Shares of the Tempe, Ariz.-based company dropped 10.7% to $46.66.

Spectra Energy ( SE) surged 11.1% to $33.68 after activist investor Sandell Asset Management said the company should explore strategic alternatives for some of its business. Sandell, founded by billionaire Thomas Sandell, said it had purchased a stake in the company, making it among Spectra's 10 largest shareholders.

Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), jumped 2.8% to $24.91 after CEO Meg Whitman told CNBC that the computer maker is ahead of target in its turnaround.

Sprint ( S) closed unchanged at $7.35 after Institutional Shareholder Services, the proxy advisory firm, recommended that shareholders vote for the sweetened offer from Japan's Softbank.

Despite Microsoft ( MSFT) stating gamers will not be charged a fee to play used video games, Gamestop ( GME), the video game retailer that specializes in buying and selling used games, fell 3% to $36.59. The company has begun making preorder sales for the Xbox One and Sony's recently announced PlayStation 4. Sterne Agee rated the stock as "buy" in a note to investors. The note set their new target price at $46.

Dollar General ( DG), dropped 1.1% to $51.09, after an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint against the company stated company policies were discriminatory. The Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based retail chain continues to grow and displayed increased store productivity despite low fiscal Q1 earnings, according to report by J.P. Morgan analyst Matthew Boss.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note was sliding 13/32, boosting the yield to 2.237%. Gold futures for August delivery popped $15 to settle at $1,392 an ounce.

Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York

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