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Stocks edge lower in early trading; Boeing drops

Matthew Craft, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- More problems for Boeing's 787 sent the company's stock down sharply early Wednesday, leading the Dow Jones industrial average lower.

Japan's two biggest airlines grounded all their Boeing 787s for safety checks Wednesday after one was forced to make an emergency landing. The plane, known as the Dreamliner, has been plagued by a series of problems including a battery fire and fuel leaks this year. Boeing's stock sank $2.42 to $74.50, a loss of 3 percent.

The Dow fell 36 points to 13,498 an hour after the opening bell Wednesday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell two points to 1,470. The Nasdaq composite was up five points at 3,115.

Northern Trust, Bank of New York Mellon and other banks fell following a slew of earnings reports. JPMorgan Chase fell 26 cents to $46.09 after the bank posted stronger earnings and an internal review of a big trading loss on credit derivatives. The bank's board of directors criticized executives for failing to keep the board informed of potential problems and using unapproved models for measuring trading risks.

Goldman Sachs gained 2 percent after the investment bank reported that its profits nearly tripled in the fourth quarter of last year. The bank's bond underwriting business had its best year since the financial crisis, thanks to strong demand for fixed-income investments and companies lining up to borrow at historically cheap rates. Goldman's stock climbed $3 to $138.60.

Analysts forecast that companies in the S&P 500 will report a 3.2 percent increase in fourth-quarter earnings. Financial firms and consumer-discretionary companies are expected to post the biggest growth, according to S&P Capital IQ.

The Labor Department said consumer prices were flat last month as gas prices sank. The December reading of the consumer price index capped a year of tame inflation. Consumer prices increased just 1.7 percent in 2012, down from 3 percent in 2011.

The report on consumer prices led traders to push up prices for Treasurys, knocking yields down. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 1.81 percent. The yield, used to set mortgages and a wide variety of other loans, ended Tuesday at 1.84 percent.