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News that Fed is split undercuts 2-day stock rally

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A two-day rally ended after the Fed’s December minutes revealed a split over how long the Fed should buy bonds to support the economy. The Dow and S&P 500 were treading water much of the day but started sinking about 2 p.m. Last month, the Fed pledged to buy Treasurys and mortgage-backed bonds and keep a benchmark interest rate near zero until the jobless rate falls below 6.5%. On Thursday, it became clear officials are divided. Some said the plan should go through 2013; others said stop it much earlier. ‘It’s pretty surprising,’ said Thomas Simons, at Jefferies. ‘I think everybody thought there was broad agreement on policy.’