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imageNEW YORK CITY: US stocks fell in early trade Wednesday as improving economic conditions in Europe were offset by US inflation data that pointed to tepid growth.

An hour into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 47.22 points (0.31 percent) at 15,403.79.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 3.12 (0.18 percent) to 1,694.18, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.11 (0.08 percent) to 3,684.37.

Eurozone data showed that the economy of the 17-country bloc grew 0.3 percent in the three months to June, exiting an 18-month recession. Germany's economy expanded 0.7 percent, while France grew 0.5 percent, well ahead of forecasts for just 0.2 percent.

But US producer price data showed flat prices in July, confirming that inflation remains a minor worry but also that the economy does not appear to have pick up speed.

"The lack of inflation pressure isn't really indicative of an economy that is gaining momentum," said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

Apple shares jumped another 1.7 percent after Tuesday's 4.8 percent surge sparked when raider Carl Icahn's revealed an estimated $1 billion-plus stake in the company and said Apple should increase its share buybacks.

JPMorgan Chase was up 0.4 percent, unaffected by the US Justice Department's announcement of indictments against two traders involved in the $6.2 billion London whale trading scandal.

Steinway Musical Instruments shares gained 5.7 percent to $40.45 after hedge fund group Paulson & Co. sealed a $40 a share, $512 million bid to take over the company, pushing aside early suitor Kohlberg and Co..

Over The Counter Markets-traded shares of AMR Corp, the parent of American Airlines, fell another 22 percent to $2.47 after Tuesday's 45 percent plummet on the news that the Justice Department has sued to block its merger with US Airways.

US Airways shares lost 3.1 percent, adding to Tuesday's 13.1 percent loss.

United Continental was down 2.6 percent, and Delta fell 2.8 percent.

LED chip and lighting maker Cree sank 20.0 percent after it issued a dimmer-than-expected forecast for fiscal first quarter earnings

Bond prices were little-changed. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury was flat at 2.71 percent, while the 30-year slipped to 3.75 percent from 3.76 percent late Tuesday. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013

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