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Dow industrials recede as gains fade

Losses by industrial and technology companies helped pull U.S. stocks mostly lower in late-afternoon trading Tuesday, placing the market on course for modest losses. The slide erased some of the gains from a broad rally earlier in the day that sent the Dow Jones industrial average past the 26,000-point threshold for the first time. Health care stocks were among the gainers as investors sized up the latest company earnings and deal news. 

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,780 as of 3:29 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average added 5 points to 25,808. It was up as much as 282 points earlier. The Nasdaq shed 24 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,236. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 13 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,578. 

EARNINGS WATCH: Investors were watching for the impact of Washington's latest tax changes on U.S. companies as earnings season for the final quarter of 2017 gets into full swing. Many multinational corporations are taking one-off charges for bringing home money held abroad. But investors expect them to benefit in the long run from the decision to cut the standard tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and are bidding up their share prices.

"A big concern is the market right now is: `Is tax reform priced in?"' said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA Research. 

BIG DECLINER: Industrial stocks accounted for much of the market's afternoon pullback. General Electric was among the sector's big decliners, sliding 3.5 percent after the company said it was taking a $6.2 billion charge related to its insurance portfolio. GE lost 66 cents to $18.10.

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