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Dow falls more than 200, cooling 2012 rally

Stocks » Index hadn’t dropped 100 points in 45 straight days, the longest streak since 2006.

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Yields on U.S. government debt also fell as investors moved their money into what they perceive to be a safer asset. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.96 percent from 2.01 percent late Monday. Bond yields fall when their prices rise.

Among stocks making big moves:

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— Weight loss company Nutrisystem Inc. fell 10.9 percent after it reported a bigger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss and a disappointing outlook.

— General Motors fell 5.5 percent after saying it will pay (euro) 304 million, or $402 million, for a 7 percent stake in Peugeot, which will make it the French carmaker’s second-largest shareholder after the Peugeot family.

— VeriFone Systems Inc. rose 7.9 percent after the maker of electronic payment systems predicted a bigger-than-expected 2012 profit.

— Apple fell 0.5 percent one day before the expected release of its iPad 3 tablet computer.

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