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Stocks Mixed, Busy Earnings Week Ahead 07/24 15:55

   Stocks mostly fell on Monday, and broad-market indexes inched modestly 
backward at the start of a busy week of corporate earnings reports and a 
meeting of the Federal Reserve.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks mostly fell on Monday, and broad-market indexes 
inched modestly backward at the start of a busy week of corporate earnings 
reports and a meeting of the Federal Reserve. Technology stocks, though, added 
to their big gains for the year and helped push the Nasdaq composite to another 
record.

   The Standard & Poor's 500 lost 2.63 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,469.91 
after nine of the 11 sectors that make up the index logged losses. It marks the 
first three-day losing streak for the index in a month, though it's still 
within a fraction of a percent of its record.

   The Dow Jones industrial average fell 66.90 points, or 0.3 percent, to 
21,513.17. The Nasdaq composite rose 23.05 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,410.81.

   The Nasdaq is up 19.1 percent this year, nearly double the rise for 
broader-market indexes as investors have massed into technology stocks in their 
search for strong growth as the global economy remains sluggish.

   Amazon.com and several other big-name tech companies are set to release 
their second-quarter results in coming days, part of a busy week where more 
than a third of S&P 500 companies are due to report.

   Expectations are high: Analysts forecast tech stocks in the S&P 500 will 
report 16 percent growth in earnings per share, according to S&P Global Market 
Intelligence. That's up from a forecast of 10.9 percent growth a month ago. And 
companies will need to follow through on the expectations to justify the big 
moves their stock prices have already made.

   "The group did have a strong start to the year, and there are some questions 
about how long tech can continue to rally," said Ann Miletti, senior portfolio 
manager at Wells Fargo Asset Management. "Overall, what we're believing to be 
true is that second-quarter results are going to come in, in general, better 
than expected. But the second-half outlook is the most important thing, and 
we'll see."

   The International Monetary Fund on Monday held its forecast for global 
economic growth this year steady at 3.5 percent, but that masks some movements 
underneath. It raised its forecast for economic growth in Europe, Japan and 
China. But it also cut its outlook for the United States on the assumption that 
politicians in Washington won't be as helpful for growth as earlier expected.

   The Federal Reserve's policymaking committee begins a two-day meeting on 
Tuesday, following its decision last month to raise short-term interest rates 
for the third time since December. The central bank also announced plans to 
start gradually paring its bond holdings later this year, a move that could 
cause rates to rise. Most investors expect the Fed to hold rates steady at this 
week's meeting and possibly raise them one more time this year.

   Investors in recent weeks have questioned whether the European Central Bank 
will begin to tap the brakes on its own stimulus for the economy.

   Monday's steepest loss in the S&P 500 came from Hasbro, which sank $10.95, 
or 9.4 percent, to $105.00 despite reporting stronger-than-expected earnings 
for the latest quarter. The stock had already been up nearly 50 percent for the 
year before the earnings release, and analysts said some investors may have 
been nervous after Hasbro cited some softness in its Brazil and U.K. markets.

   Shares were also weak across the sporting goods retail industry after 
Hibbett Sports warned that its sales have been under even more pressure than 
analysts expected for the three months through July. Retailers of all types 
have been battling against increased competition from online rivals, some 
better than others.

   Hibbett fell $6.60, or 33.5 percent, to $13.10. Foot Locker lost $2.16, or 
4.6 percent, to $45.05, and Dick's Sporting Goods dropped $2.04, or 5.5 
percent, to $35.12.

   On the opposite end was WebMD Health, which soared $10.91, or 19.8 percent, 
to $66.10 after a portfolio company of investment-firm KKR said it will buy the 
health information website for $66.50 per share in cash.

   In overseas markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.6 percent, and South Korea's 
Kospi inched up 0.1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 percent, and 
India's Sensex added 0.7 percent.

   In Europe, France's CAC 40 rose 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX fell 0.3 percent 
and the FTSE 100 in London dropped 1 percent.

   In the commodities market, benchmark U.S. crude rose 57 cents, or 1.2 
percent, to $46.34 per barrel. Brent crude, the standard for international oil 
prices, rose 54 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $48.60 a barrel.

   Natural gas fell 7 cents to $2.90 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline 
slipped a penny to $1.56 a gallon and heating oil was nearly flat at $1.52 a 
gallon.

   Gold fell 60 cents to settle at $1,254.30 per ounce, silver slipped 1 cent 
to $16.44 per ounce and copper added a penny to $2.74 per pound.

   The yield on the 10-year Treasury note ticked up to 2.25 percent from 2.24 
percent late Friday, and the two-year yield rose to 1.36 percent from 1.34 
percent.

   The euro dipped to $1.1645 from $1.1677 late Friday, the dollar ticked up to 
111.11 Japanese yen from 111.04 yen and the British pound rose to $1.3036 from 
$1.3007.


(BE)

 
 
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