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Stocks edge mostly lower as investors mull the outlook for Federal Reserve's stimulus program

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Stocks are mostly lower as investors weighed signs of an improving economy against the prospect of the Federal Reserve cutting back on its economic stimulus.

Chegg, an online textbook rental company, flopped in its stock market debut, and clothing maker Perry Ellis plunged after cutting its revenue forecast. Macy’s rose after beating analysts’ earnings estimates.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 50 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 15,702 in midday trading Wednesday.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 edged down a point, less than 0.1 per cent, to 1,766. The Nasdaq composite was up four points, 0.1 per cent, to 3,924.

Investors will closely follow Thursday’s confirmation hearing for Janet Yellen, who has been nominated to succeed Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, for clues about when the Fed may reduce its economic stimulus.