Interest Rate Fears Slow Stocks

Stocks closed mostly lower Tuesday on resurgent fears of rising interest rates. Investors sold as bond yields remained high, government data showed wages rising and a Federal Reserve official warned more interest rate hikes may be needed.

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 22.10, or 0.2 percent, to 10,980.69. The 30-stock index gained as companies such as Honeywell International Inc. (HON) and Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) rose. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 63.00, or 0.57 percent, on Monday.

Broader stock indicators were lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.38, or 0.19 percent, to 1,275.88, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 17.65, or 0.77 percent, to 2,268.38.

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Wall Street was nervously watching the Treasury market after yields surged Monday to their strongest level since June 2004, pushed up by investor worries about inflation in the United States and rising interest rates in Japan and Europe. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note Tuesday fell to 4.73 percent, down from 4.74 percent late Monday.

Rising interest rates would not only make loans to consumers and businesses more expensive, they could also make bonds a more attractive investment than stocks.

"It seems like the stock market is finally recognizing what happened to the bond market," said Frank Gannon, senior equity portfolio manager, AIG SunAmerica Mutual Funds.