Stocks Tumbled, Dow Below 15,000

U.S. stocks dropped 1 percent on Wednesday, as investors grappled with concerns that central bank stimulus may be nearing an end while the economy is still weak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 216.95 points, or 1.43%, to 14,960.59. The S&P 500 index shed 22.48 points, or 1.38%, to 1,608.90. The Nasdaq Composite declined 43.78 points, or 1.27%, to 3,401.48.

Hiring by U.S. firms was sluggish in May while a sharp rise in mortgage interest rates last week weighed on what has been a buoyant housing market, adding to signs the economy lost some momentum in the second quarter.

A separate report from the Federal Reserve characterized the pace of the economic expansion as “modest to moderate” since mid-April as hiring remained relatively subdued.

A Federal Reserve survey says economic growth increased throughout the United States from April through late-May, fueled by home construction, consumer spending and steady hiring.

A Dell Inc special committee challenged Carl Icahn on Wednesday, saying the activist investor is almost $4 billion short of the cash needed to fund his proposal for a $12-per-share special dividend.

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