RALLY FADES: After rising 290 points in three days, the Dow Jones industrial average took a break on Wednesday. The index closed up seven points after edging between gains and losses during the day. Other indexes closed mixed.

EUROPE LOOMS: Stocks had opened lower after a slew of disappointing economic news from Europe. The central banks of France and England issued dire projections. German industrial production fell sharply.

DEMAND SUFFERS: U.S. consumer goods companies fell after several said the economic slowdown is hurting their sales numbers. McDonald's, Ralph Lauren and Priceline.com all closed lower after acknowledging Europe's impact.