Stocks Finish Lower

Investors took some profits after momentum measures on key indices reached overbought levels on Tuesday

Stocks moved lower on Wednesday on profit taking. This was an extension of selling that began late Tuesday after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq could not sustain advances to their highest levels in over four years, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope. News of a shooting near an airliner in Miami (Fla.) had a muted impact on the market.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 45.95 points to 10,810.91. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 6.33 points to 1,257.37. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 8.75 points to 2,252.01.

Crude oil sank to $59.21 a barrel due to a build in weekly inventories -- this did not aid equities.

Among companies in the news, General Motors (GM ) shares rose on news that GM invited a Kirk Kerkorian representative from Tracinda Corp. to join its board. Earlier, GM named Frederick Henderson as CFO, replacing John Devine.

Ford Motor (F ) executives will present a restructuring plan to its board of directors today that calls for closing at least 10 assembly and component plants, and eliminating 25,000-30,000 hourly jobs in North America within 5 years, according to the Detroit News.

WellPoint (WLP ) sees about $4.51 2006 earnings per share, which includes 18 cents impact for expensing of stock options, on operating revenue of about $49.5 billion, 11% higher than its 2005 projection.

New York Times (NYT ) expects 2005 total company advertising revenue growth in the low single-digits. It says given limited visibility on advertising in 2006, it will not provide an outlook for for the year. Prudential reportedly downgraded the stock to underweight from neutral.

In Europe, London's FTSE-100, Germany's DAX, and France's CAC-40 indexes finished lower.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei index rose 61.28 points (0.40%) to 15,484.66. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index climbed 144.34 points (0.96%) to 15,134.95.

Treasury Market

Treasury yields moved higher, with the yield on the 10-year note rising to 4.52%. "There were a couple instances of brief flight-to-safety bids, after false reports of an aircraft going down off Canada and an Air Marshall incident in Miami that kept both bulls and bears on their toes," says Action Economics.

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