US stocks are mostly lower at midday as an early gain fades

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are heading mostly lower in midday trading as an early gain fades away. If the market ends down Wednesday it would extend a slump into a third day. Costco led a drop in consumer staples stocks after reporting weaker earnings than analysts were expecting. Dow Chemical and...

 
              Traders gather at the post that handles Dow Chemical on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. U.S. stocks are mixed in early trading as investors pick up some bargains after a two-day losing streak. Dow Chemical and DuPont both rose sharply following reports that the two companies were talking about a combination. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are heading mostly lower in midday trading as an early gain fades away.

If the market ends down Wednesday it would extend a slump into a third day.

Costco led a drop in consumer staples stocks after reporting weaker earnings than analysts were expecting.

Dow Chemical and DuPont rose sharply following reports that the two companies were talking about a combination.

Energy and materials companies moved higher along with the price of oil and other commodities.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,059 as of 11:45 a.m. Eastern time. The Nasdaq composite gave up 44 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,053.

The Dow Jones industrial average got a boost from DuPont. The 30-stock average increased 12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,581.

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