US stocks fall after weak GDP data

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks closed modestly lower Wednesday after data showed the unexpectedly economy shrank in the fourth quarter last year and the Federal Reserve maintained its loose monetary policy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 44.77 points (0.32 per cent) to 13,909.65 in closing trade.

The S&P 500-stock index shed 5.95 points (0.39 per cent) at 1,501.89, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite fell 10.94 points (0.35 per cent) to 3,142.72.

The Commerce Department reported the US economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.1 per cent in the 2012 fourth quarter, the first contraction since the recession of 2009.

The Federal Reserve, wrapping up a two-day policy meeting, noted the economy had "paused" in recent months and maintained its ultra-loose monetary policy, as expected.

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