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updated: 10/24/2012 12:10 PM

Stocks stabilize on Wall Street after a sell-off

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Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The steep losses finally stopped Wednesday as the stock market turned calm, a day after one of its biggest sell-offs of the year. Major indexes wavered between minor gains and losses in midday trading.

Boeing, one of the 30 large companies in the Dow Jones industrial average, said it expects to deliver more airplanes and raised its estimates for profits this year. Boeing's quarterly earnings also beat analysts' estimates. Its stock rose $1, or 1.4 percent, to $73.82.

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The Dow climbed 9 points to 13,111 shortly after noon. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped less than one point to 1,412 while the Nasdaq composite index sank seven points to 2,983.

"Today we're assessing the damage," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott. "Everybody just got clobbered yesterday."

Lower corporate revenue and expectations for the rest of the year drove the Dow down 243 points Tuesday, its third-biggest drop this year. DuPont, 3M, UPS and Xerox all reported lower sales than a year ago.

"It seemed out of the blue, but what we were seeing was stock prices adjusting to corporate profitability," Luschini said.

Facebook was poised for its best day since its stock market debut in May. The company said late Tuesday that 14 percent of its advertising revenue came from mobile devices, allaying some investor concerns.

The social network's stock soared $3.91 to $23.44, a jump of 20 percent. Facebook has swung widely since its IPO at $38, and has traded as low as $17.55.

Another Dow stock, AT&T, said it added the fewest wireless customers since 2003, far behind Verizon Wireless. AT&T's results still managed to beat the estimates of financial analysts. AT&T fell 25 cents to $34.75.

A measure of manufacturing in China, the world's second-largest economy after the United States, improved this month to a three-month high. China's white-hot economic growth has been slowing.

In the U.S., bond prices inched lower, sending yields up. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note edged up to 1.77 percent from 1.76 percent late Tuesday.

Among other stocks in the news:

-- Netflix plunged $10.13 a share, 15 percent, to $58.06. Late Tuesday, it slashed its prediction for how many U.S. video-streaming subscribers it would add this year to 4.7 million to 5 million. It had predicted it would add as many as 7 million.

-- Dow Chemical rose $1.70 to $30.25. The company announced a wide-ranging restructuring plan late Tuesday that includes cutting 2,400 jobs and closing 20 manufacturing facilities. The company cited slowing economic growth in Europe and elsewhere.

-- Tempur-Pedic plunged $6.93 to $24.94, a loss of 22 percent. The maker of premium memory foam mattresses reported revenue that was well below the estimates of Wall Street analysts. The company also cut its estimates for full-year profits and revenue.

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