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Stock indexes drop a third straight day

NEW YORK, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes dropped a third straight day Wednesday as another Federal Reserve official said the central bank might start cutting its easy-money policy.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 48.07 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 15,470.67. It fell 93 points Tuesday, its biggest point and percentage decline since June 28, following a 46-point setback Monday.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 6.46 points, or 0.4 percent, at 1,690.91, with seven of 10 sectors lower. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index, which didn't start falling until Tuesday, fell 11.76 points, or 0.3 percent, at 3,654.01.

About 3 billion shares traded hands on the New York Stock Exchange. Declining stocks outnumbered advancing ones 7 to 3.

The 10-year Treasury note Monday rose 6 23/32 to yield 2.608 percent.

Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto said Wednesday the central bank could begin to slow its asset purchases if the labor market continues to strengthen.

"If the labor market remains on the stronger path that it has followed since last fall, then I would be prepared to scale back the monthly pace of asset purchases," she said in a Cleveland address.

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She did not provide a timetable for any Fed action. Pianalto is not a voting member of the Fed's policy-making committee this year.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index tumbled 576.12 points, or 4 percent, to close at 13,824.94, as a strengthening yen hurt exporters.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed down 334.86 points, or 1.5 percent, at 21,588.84, ahead of key economic data later this week.

Britain's FTSE 100 index lost 93 points, or 1.41 percent, to close at 6,511.21 after the Bank of England pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate and bond purchase program at current levels until Britain's jobless rate falls to 7 percent.

The Stoxx Europe 600, which represents companies across 18 European countries, finished down 0.69, or 0.2 percent, to close at 302.81.

Crude oil for September delivery fell 93 cents, or 0.9 percent, to settle at $104.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold for December delivery rose after six straight sessions of losses, adding $2.80, or 0.2 percent, to settle at $1,286.10 a troy ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

September silver shed 1 cent to settle at $19.51 an ounce.

The U.S. dollar fell to 96.36 Japanese yen -- the lowest level since June 18 -- from 97.71 in late New York trading Tuesday.

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The euro traded at $1.3341, up from late Tuesday's $1.33 and late Monday's $1.326.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat for December delivery fell 6.5 cents at $6.5625 a bushel. December corn slipped 1 cent to $4.5825 a bushel.

December oats rose 2 cents at $3.2675 a bushel, while November soybeans shed 1.5 cents at $11.6575 a bushel.

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