New York • A gloomy outlook from Caterpillar, the world’s largest construction equipment company, helped send stocks mostly lower on Wednesday. The meager drop gave the stock market two consecutive days of losses, the first time that’s happened all month.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 25.50 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 15,542.24.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 6.45 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,685.94.
The Nasdaq composite edged up 0.33 of a point, less than 0.1 percent, to 3,579.60.
For the week:
The Dow is down 1.5 points, less than 0.1 percent.
The S&P 500 is down 6.15 points, or 0.4 percent.
The Nasdaq is down 8.01 points, or 0.2 percent.
For the year so far:
The Dow is up 2,438.10 points, or 18.6 percent.
The S&P 500 is up 259.75 points, or 18.2 percent.
The Nasdaq is up 560.09 points, or 18.6 percent.
In Europe, a broad gauge of economic activity reached the highest level since January 2012, sending stock markets in Germany and France higher. Financial information company Markit said Wednesday that its monthly purchasing managers’ index for the countries that use the euro currency increased for the fourth month running.
France’s CAC 40 rose 0.7 percent and Germany’s DAX rose 0.3 percent.
The report out of Europe pushed prices for U.S. government bonds down and their yields up. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.58 percent from 2.51 percent late Tuesday.
Signs of economic strength usually lead traders to sell Treasurys, considered one of the safest places in the world to park cash.