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by diane 2010-03-15 04:30

Compass Minerals and Garmin have posted small recent advances.
Shares in Compass, which operates salt mining operations, gained 87 cents, while Garmin, the maker of global positioning systems, tacked on 43 cents for the day.
On the flip side of the ledger, Cerner Corp. lost 90 cents, and UMB Financial, 19 cents.
On Wall Street, meanwhile, there was upbeat news, the kind that often sends stock higher: Insurer American International Group Inc. reached a deal to sell one of its major foreign divisions to MetLife Inc. for $15.5 billion. And Royal Dutch Shell and PetroChina offered to buy Australia’s Arrow Energy Ltd. for $3 billion in cash and stock.
But investors who rocketed the Dow up 61.2 percent from the 12-year low of 6,547.05 it hit last March 9 weren’t impressed enough to extend the previous day’s big advance.
That kind of caution is the reason why the Dow is up just 1.2 percent in 2010. It has stumbled through the first two months of the year because the news just hasn’t been good enough to keep the momentum going.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 13.68 points, or .13 percent, to 10,552.52.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell .20, or .02 percent, to 1,138.50.
The Nasdaq composite index added 5.86 points, or .25 percent, to close at 2,332.21.
An early reading of the KansasCity.com index of 145 regional companies showed a decline of .67 points, or .10 percent, to 653.34.

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