Stocks fall after Ireland downgrade erases gains

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    NEW YORK (AP) ? Stocks are closing lower after Moody’s knocked Ireland’s bond rating to junk, saying the country would likely need another rescue. Moody’s already has junk ratings on Greece and Portugal.

    Ireland is again the focus of investor fears that a heavily-indebted European country will default. That could cause disruptions on financial markets and a slowdown in lending.

    The Dow Jones industrial average lost 59 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 12,446 Tuesday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is down 6 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,314. The Nasdaq composite is down 21, or 0.7 percent, at 2,782.

    About three stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was lighter than average at 3.7 billion shares.