NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks fell today as renewed interest rate jitters and troubling developments in Asia negated some early excitement over a potential merger between Chrysler and Germany's Daimler-Benz.

At 3 p.m. on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 49.08 at 9,098.49. An early 32-point gain had put the blue-chip measure within 13 points of Monday's record close of 9,192.66.

Broad-market indicators also turned negative as investors remained cautious in advance of Friday's report on payroll and wage levels, two key forces behind inflation.

Stocks were also pressured by unsettling reminders of the continuing instability in Asia, where a third day of rioting in Indonesia over government price increases spurred a 4.7 percent plunge by the main stock index there.

There was little reaction a Federal Reserve report saying economic growth continued at a ``moderate to strong'' pace in March and April.

The report, which will serve as the basis for the Fed's May 19 discussions on interest rate strategy, also offered hints that inflationary pressures remain in check.

Stocks tumbled early last week amid sudden fears the Fed might try to slow the economy with higher interest rates. The market rebounded days later, however, after the release of several encouraging reports.

Chrysler surged 5 9/16 to 47 today after the No. 3 U.S. automaker and Daimler-Benz confirmed a report in The Wall Street Journal that they are discussing a merger. Daimler shares rose 6 13/16 to108 7/8 in U.S. trading.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 3-to-2 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 477.65 million, up slightly from the modest pace of the past three sessions.

The Standard & Poor's 500 was down 8.27 at 1,107.23, and the Nasdaq composite index was down 6.39 at 1,858.52.

The NYSE composite index was down 3.50 at 576.25, and the American Stock Exchange composite index was down 2.07 at 743.21.

Overseas, Tokyo's Nikkei stock average fell 2.3 percent, Frankfurt's DAX index edged lower and London's FT-SE 100 rose 0.1 percent.