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FED FAILS TO EXCITE INVESTORS

Associated Press

NEW YORK - It's going to take more than low interest rates to fire up investors.

The Federal Reserve's latest plan to help the economy failed to impress Wall Street on Wednesday. Stocks finished slightly lower for the day, and not much better than they were before the Fed announcement.

The Fed said it would keep its "Operation Twist" program going through the end of the year rather than let it expire at the end of this month. The Fed also sharply lowered its outlook for U.S. economic growth. Chairman Ben Bernanke said the economy would grow no more than 2.4 percent this year, down from an April forecast of no more than 2.9 percent.

"What the markets really don't like was he ratcheted down growth sharply," said Doug Cote, chief market strategist at ING Investment Management.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 12.94 points, or 0.1 percent, at 12,824.39. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.29 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,355.69. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.69 points to 2,930.45.

"It's obvious we're still in a trader's market, and it's a market that is still responding to news events, including the Fed, almost hour by hour, if not minute by minute," said Quincy Krosby, a market strategist with Prudential Financial.

Markets in Europe rose and the euro strengthened against the dollar. Benchmark stock indexes rose 0.5 percent in Germany, 0.6 percent in Britain and 2.1 percent in Italy. Borrowing costs fell in Europe, too. Yields on government bonds in Spain and Italy fell, a signal that investors are less worried about the finances of those two countries.

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