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Stocks end mixed as Dow drops 3 points

Times Wire Services

Stocks ended mixed Tuesday after a rally in bank shares offset drops in some technology names.

The Dow Jones industrials edged down 3 points, while broader indexes rose. For a second day, the Dow got within about a dozen points of the 11,000 level.

Stocks got a brief bounce late in the day when the Federal Reserve released meeting minutes suggesting that policymakers were growing more upbeat about the economy but weren’t prepared yet to raise interest rates.

Financial stocks led the market higher on upbeat comments by analysts about regional banks.

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SunTrust Banks rose 3.5% after Credit Suisse said the company might attract foreign buyers. Regions Financial surged 4.4%. Wells Fargo rose 2.4%, while Bank of America gained 2%

Tech stocks were mixed after software firm CA said its profit for the just-ended fiscal year was at the low end of its forecast. The company also said it would cut 1,000 jobs, or 8% of its workforce. CA shares fell 1.9%.

Intel lost 0.8% after an analyst said the chip maker’s first-quarter revenue wouldn’t be a “blowout.”

Among other major tech firms, Google also fell, while Oracle, Apple and Dell rose.

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In other highlights:

* Builder stocks slid after downgrades of Pulte Group and L.A.-based KB Home. KB fell 2.8%. Pulte lost 2.4%.

* AutoNation rose 3.4%. The car retailer said its first-quarter results were better than projected.

* Massey Energy sank 11% after a mine explosion killed 25 of its workers in West Virginia.

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