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Tech leads stocks lower on Wall Street, easing off records

Drops in big technology companies led stocks broadly lower on Wall Street Tuesday, easing major indexes off the latest record highs they set a day earlier.

Markets have been choppy as investors try to get a clearer picture of how well the economy is recovering from the pandemic and how the Federal Reserve will eventually ease up on its support for low interest rates. The central bank is meeting Tuesday and will release its latest statement on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 fell 1.1% as of 2 p.m. Eastern. The benchmark index reached its latest record high on Monday and is now on pace for its first pullback in six days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 238 points, or 0.7%, to 34,906 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 2%.

Technology companies and a mix of consumer-oriented companies were among the biggest losers. Microsoft fell 1.9% and Apple fell 2%. Both companies are set to report their latest results after the close of trading.

Investors shifted money to sectors seen as less risky, including utilities and companies that make household and personal goods.

They also bought bonds, sending the yield on the 10-year Treasury note down to 1.24% from 1.27% late Monday. Long-term yields have eased off from their sharp rise earlier in the year, but Wall Street is still worried about inflation.

Wednesday’s report from the Fed could give investors more clues about the central bank’s level of concern and when it might start reducing its monthly bond purchases that have helped keep interest rates low.

Investors considered a mixed bag of earnings from several large companies. UPS slumped 7.7

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