US stocks close slightly lower after an up-and-down day; Tenet Healthcare slumps on loss

The Associated Press

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, file photo, trader Gregory Rowe, center, works at the post of specialist Joseph Mastrolia, left, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Global stocks were mostly lower Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, amid jitters about China's housing market and weakness in the country's currency. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

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NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. stock market is ending slightly lower after a choppy day of trading.

Major indexes moved between small gains and losses for much of the day Tuesday, then drifted steadily lower in the last hour of trading.

Traders were discouraged by a surprisingly large drop in consumer confidence in February. The worst drops were in areas affected by the extreme cold weather and storms of the past few weeks.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined two points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 1,845.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 27 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,179. The Nasdaq composite fell five points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,287.

Tenet Healthcare fell 9 percent after the hospital management company reported a loss in the fourth quarter.

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