Stocks end day down slightly but stem losses

NEW YORK - Wall Street took a step backward Wednesday. Then a tiny step forward. Then back. The tentative dance amounted to little change for major U.S. stock indexes, which ended the day just below their prior day's levels.

For the week, stocks remained down, extending the downturn for the year. A survey on hiring did little to ease uncertainty over the health of the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 5.01 to close at 15,440.23 Wednesday. The S&P 500 index slipped 3.56 to 1,751.64. The Nasdaq composite dropped 19.97 to 4,011.55.

$18 million investment, 120 jobs for Fairfield

COLUMBIA - A company that makes construction equipment is establishing its North America headquarters in Fairfield County.

BOMAG Americas said Wednesday it is investing more than $18 million and bringing 120 jobs to the area during the next five years.

The company makes milling machines, asphalt pavers and other road building equipment. The plant site is in Ridgeway. It's scheduled to be completed in October.

SC's 3D Systems lowers profit forecast for 2014

ROCK HILL - 3D Systems. shares plunged Wednesday after the 3D-printer maker said that its annual profit may come in lower than expected due to softer demand for consumer printers and printer parts.

The South Carolina-based company said that it expects to earn between 83 and 87 cents per share on an adjusted basis for the year. That is below its previous forecast of 93 cents to $1.03 per share.

The company said professional demand for 3D printers and material was strong. But weaker consumer demand, along with increased research, design and sales and marketing costs weighed on its profitability.

Canal expansion stops in dispute in Panama

PANAMA CITY - Work on the Panama Canal expansion project was halted Wednesday after talks broke down on how to settle a dispute over $1.6 billion in cost overruns.

The Panama Canal Authority and the Spanish-led construction consortium leading the expansion blame each other for overruns. They were negotiating how to pay for the extra costs when talks broke down.

Quijano said a 2015 completion deadline would not be pushed back. The project, already nine months late, would double the capacity of the canal.

Twitter posts a 4Q loss, but it beats estimates

NEW YORK - Twitter beat Wall Street's earnings and revenue expectations in its first quarter as a public company.

Twitter reported a loss of $511 million, or $1.41 a share, in the October-December period. That compares with a loss of $8.7 million, or 7 cents a share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were 2 cents per share. Twitter's revenue more than doubled to $243 million.

Twitter went public in November. The stock price has more than doubled since.

Merck Q4 net drops on generic competition

NEW YORK - Merck & Co.'s fourth-quarter profit dropped 14 percent to $781 million, with its aggressive cost cutting not enough to offset restructuring charges, generic competition to former blockbuster medicines and unfavorable currency exchange rates.

Results just missed expectations. Sales were lower than expected for the Type 2 diabetes pill Januvia, HPV vaccine Gardasil and a few other products, but higher for immune disorder drug Remicade, HIV drug Isentress and cholesterol pills Zetia and Vytorin.

Wire reports