U.S. Stocks Pare Losses as P&G, Merck Lead Gains in Dow Average

U.S. stocks trimmed losses as rallies of more than 4 percent in Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) and Merck & Co. helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average erase most of an earlier 112 point drop.

P&G climbed the most in more than two years after the Federal Trade Commission cleared William Ackman’s hedge fund company to take a stake in the maker of household products. Merck rallied to a four-year high after reporting that an osteoporosis drug worked well in a trial.

The Dow lost 20.78 points to 12,583.75 at 1:19 p.m. in New York. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.4 percent to 1,336.16 after tumbling as much as 1.2 percent.

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