SOFT PATCH: Stocks dropped on Wednesday after reports on manufacturing and hiring added to evidence that the economy is slowing.

KEEPING THEIR OPTIONS OPEN: The Fed reaffirmed its plan to keep stimulus going and said it could adjust its bond-buying program depending on the job market and inflation. That didn't stop the markets' slide. The Standard & Poor's 500 index finished close to 1 percent lower.

MAY DAY: The adage "Sell in May and go away" is never far from investors' minds at the start of this month. The Standard & Poor's 500 hasn't risen in May since 2009. In the last three years, spring rallies have been followed by sell-offs.

 

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