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Stocks slip from record highs as energy companies fall

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are mostly lower Wednesday after their recent record-setting run. Energy and industrial companies are slipping while basic materials makers are rising. Technology stocks, which have risen every day in February, are wobbling between small losses and gains. KEEPING...

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are mostly lower Wednesday after their recent record-setting run. Energy and industrial companies are slipping while basic materials makers are rising. Technology stocks, which have risen every day in February, are wobbling between small losses and gains.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,767 as of 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,363. The Nasdaq composite shed 5 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,860. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks slid 6 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,403.

All four indexes closed at record highs Tuesday. The Nasdaq has done especially well thanks to gains for technology stocks. They are trading at their highest prices since mid-2000, when the dot-com bubble was beginning to burst.

ONE STEP CLOSER: DuPont climbed $2.91, or 3.8 percent, to $80.09 and Dow Chemical gained $2.51, or 4.1 percent, to $63.73 following reports that regulators in the European Union are close to approving their $62 billion combination. Antitrust officials in the U.S. and elsewhere would still have to approve that deal.

Investors appeared to grow more optimistic about a second deal in the chemicals industry: Monsanto, which has accepted a $57 billion offer from Bayer but is also waiting for regulatory approval, rose $1.12, or 1 percent, to $111.69.

FED MINUTES: The Federal Reserve released minutes from its most recent meeting. Officials discussed the importance of raising their primary interest rate soon, especially if the economy stays strong. Some Fed officials were worried that if interest rates stay too low, the expanding economy could cause inflation to rise too fast.

Investors don't generally expect the Fed to raise interest rates at its next meeting in March. But bond prices changed course and turned higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.42 percent from 2.43 percent.

ACTIVISTS STAY BUSY: Drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb rose 73 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $55.51 after the Wall Street Journal reported that billionaire investor Carl Icahn bought a stake in the company. Icahn has not confirmed his investment. Just a day earlier, after Bristol-Myers reached a deal with another activist investor, Jana Partners. It will add three new directors to its board and spend $2 billion to buy back stock. Bristol-Myers stock traded at $75 in early August but plunged as investors worry that its lung cancer drug Opdivo will lose sales to other treatments.

ON THE REBOUND: Food and consumer products company Unilever rose after it said it will quickly review its options to find ways to raise value for shareholders. Kraft Heinz went public Friday with an offer to buy the company for $143 billion, but it withdrew that offer over the weekend after Unilever said it wasn't big enough. Unilever regained $2.16, or 4.8 percent, to $47.03 after a 7.5 percent skid Tuesday.

OIL: Energy companies traded lower as benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 87 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $53.46 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 90 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $55.86 a barrel in London.

Oil and gas company Concho Resources slid $9.10, or 6.4 percent, to $132.25 after a weak fourth-quarter report and Newfield Exploration declined $3.73, or 8.8 percent, to $38.76 as analysts expressed concerns about its forecasts for the current year.

ALL THAT GLITTERS: Gold and copper mining company Newmont Mining posted a smaller profit and less revenue than analysts expected. The company forecast greater costs, and it also took $970 million in charges that are related to expenses at a mine it is closing. Its stock gave up $1.66, or 4.4 percent, to $35.78.

TECH TRIPPED UP: Intel fell 64 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $35.89 but Facebook climbed $2.77, or 2.1 percent, to $136.49. The S&P 500's technology index has gained ground every day in February so far, and it's up almost 10 percent this year. That has brought that index to its highest level since July 2000.

TAKE IT TO THE HOUSE: Luxury home builder Toll Brothers announced stronger first-quarter results than analysts expected, and the company said it should finish more houses this year than it initially anticipated. Its stock gained $2.11, or 6.6 percent, to $34.10. Other homebuilders including Lennar and PulteGroup made smaller gains.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 113.17 yen from 113.58 yen. The euro rose to $1.0560 from $1.0547.

METALS: Gold slipped $5.60 to $1,233.30 an ounce. Silver lost 5 cents to $17.95 an ounce. Copper fell 1 cent to $2.73 a pound.

OVERSEAS: Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.4 percent and Germany's DAX added 0.3 percent. In France, the CAC 40 picked up 0.1 percent. The Japanese Nikkei 225 finished unchanged while South Korea's Kospi added 0.2 percent. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong jumped 1 percent.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay

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