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U.S. stocks declined on Monday, retreating from last week's rise, as Germany downplayed the notion of a quick fix for Europe's debt trouble and a New York-region index illustrated ongoing weakness in manufacturing activity. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 70 points to 11,574. The S&P 500 fell 8 points to 1,216. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 14 points to 2,653. After a great run up from the October 4th lows, the averages on a technical basis are over bought. It's a big week for earnings. This morning the list of companies reporting include Wells Fargo, Citigroup, McMoran, Hasbro, Sun Life, Halliburton, and Charles Schwab. The financials are beating estimates. Citigroup had a blow out report, but investors are unimpressed. The financials remain out of favor even though Barrons ran a cover piece recommending the sector. The insurance stocks are lower, Sun Life is down 8% after reporting a loss. Wells Fargo and Charles Schwab are both down over 4%. Blackrock, Fifth Third, and Huntington Bancshares are lower by 2% on downgrades. The commodities are getting hit. Halliburton is down 6% even though they beat. Freeport McMoran is down 4% due to violent protests by union workers. CF Industries reported better than expected fertilizer pricing, but the stock and the sector are getting hit. The energy space is one of the bright spots due to announced takeovers this past weekend. El Paso is jumping 22% after Kinder Morgan agreed to buy them out. Kinder Morgan is also higher by 7%. Exploration company, Brigham Exploration is jumping 20% on a takeover offer, so at least we have a few stocks trading higher. Through the morning the averages pushed lower. The Dow fell 140 points while the Nasdaq declined 24 points. Every few blue chips remain in the green. Apple looks good in the tech space and that's about it. The Nasdaq fell 25 points. Europe is in focus once again, unfortunately. During the lunch hour the averages pushed lower once again. Research in Motion traded lower on Carl Icahn comments that he and his firm are not interested in the firm. Through the afternoon the averages moved sideways. Stocks like IBM which report tonight are no showing any life. The one financial trading higher, Goldman, reports tomorrow morning. In the last hour, the averages pushed to new lows for the day. So much for our rally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 247 points, or 2.1%, to 11,397, led by a 6.6% drop in Alcoa. The S&P 500 dropped 23 points, or 1.9%, to 1,200. The financial sector and materials sector lost more than 3%. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 52 points, or 2%, to 2,614. All indexes are now lower for the year. Not the best start to the week.
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