Stocks Slide for Sixth Straight Day

U.S. stocks slid for a sixth day on Thursday as concern spread that weaker global economic growth and the European debt crisis will hurt U.S. corporate earnings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 31.26 points, or 0.25%, to close at 12,573.27. The S&P 500 fell 6.69 points, or 0.50%, to 1,334.76. The Nasdaq Composite slid 21.79 points, or 0.75%, to 2,866.19.

The U.S. budget deficit grew by nearly $60 billion in June, remaining on track to exceed $1 trillion for the fourth straight year. Through the first nine months of the budget year, the federal deficit totaled $904.2 billion, the Treasury Department reported Thursday.

Average rates on fixed mortgages fell again to record lows this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year loans fell to 3.56%. That’s down from 3.62% last week and the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

Wells Fargo & Co. on Thursday said it will pay a total of $175 million to settle Justice Department charges that the company violated fair- lending laws for its role in allegedly steering black and Hispanic borrowers into subprime mortgages.

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