Stock market fades at close

U.S. stock market ends lower as afternoon gains fizzle


NEW YORK — Stocks were mostly lower at the close of trading today, and the Dow Jones industrial average posted its fourth straight day of declines.

Stocks faded in the last half-hour of trading today after staying positive most of the day.

Traders struggled with conflicting news about the economy. One report today showed that home prices in July rose the most in more than seven years. Another showed that Americans’ confidence in the economy slipped in September.

The Dow fell 66 points to close at 15,334. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index eased four points to 1,697.

The Nasdaq composite, however, edged up two points to 3,768.

Software company Red Hat slid $6.20, or 12 percent, to $46.73, after it reported lower-than-expected quarterly billings and issued disappointing revenue forecasts.