U.S. stock markets moved higher early and attempted a comeback late, but closed lower Wednesday in New York.
Markets started strong, but gains faded. They hit a midday low just after noon and recovered after the Federal Reserve released meeting minutes from its late-January policy meeting. Those gains did not hold either, however, and the up-and-down day ended in the red.
Economic data was weak with housing starts down, as expected, during a frigid January.
By the numbers, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 89.84 points or 0.56 percent to 16,040.56. The Standard & Poor's 500 index shed 12.01 points, 0.65 percent, to 1,828.75. The tech-dominated Nasdaq index gave up 34.83 points, 0.82 percent, to reach 4,237.95.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,113 issues advanced while 2,014 declined. On the New York Stock Exchange, trading was moderate with 3.6 billion shares trading hands.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index lost 76.71 points, 0.52 percent, to 14,766.33. In London, the FTSE 100 index added a marginal 0.28 points, less than 0.01 percent, to 6,796.71.
The 10-year U.S. treasury fell 8/32 to yield 2.736 percent.
The dollar was lower against the euro at $1.3733. The yen was higher at 102.33 yen.
Gold dropped $12.60, reaching $1,311.80 per ounce on the Comex exchange. Silver shed 36.3 cents to settle at $21.535.
Crude oil gained 48 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange, reaching $103.39 in late trading.
On the Chicago Board of Trade March delivery corn hit $4.5425 per bushel, up 4.75 cents. Soybeans lost 5.5 cents to $13.555. Wheat gained 8.5 cents to reach $6.205.