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Beware of the ides of July. U.S. stocks began modestly lower Thursday after mixed economic data illustrated a slowing recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 10 points to 10,356. The S&P 500 opened flat at 1,094, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 2 points to 2,247. The earnings are coming in better than expected. JP Morgan easily beat estimates on encouraging loan delinquency rates. JP Morgan, however, is only modestly higher. Most of the banks opened higher, then sold off. Blackrock and Legg Mason are lower after one analyst initiated hold ratings on the firms. One private equity deal today. NBTY is jumping 44% after Carlyle Group agreed to buy the firm for $3.8 billion. Not bad. In the tech space, Fairchild Semi had good earnings easily beating estimates, but the stock is lower. Intel is lower erasing all the gains from yesterday. That's not good. Symantec is lower on a downgrade. IBM and Corning are lower on analyst hold ratings. Motorola is modestly higher on an upgrade. Apple continues it's recent downward trend. In the retail space, Wolverine Worldwide is down 3% even though earnings were much better than expected. Aeropostale is lower even though it received an upgrade. At 10 o'clock a bad manufacturing number brought the sellers in full force. The Dow quickly dropped over 50 points erasing all the gains. The Nasdaq dropped into the red as well. After the first hour the Dow was down over 120 points. The Nasdaq declined 30 points. The corporate earnings are good, but with the economy slowing, investors don't believe the earnings will hold up through the rest of the year. Following the first hour, the averages spent the rest of the day fighting to pare the losses. In the last hour the averages sold off again only to rally hard into the close. The rally is due to Goldman Sachs jumping on news they will settle with the SEC. BP is also jumping on news the oil spill has been capped for now. What a difference an hour makes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down just 7 points at 10,359. The broad S&P 500 index rose a point to 1,096.48, led by consumer discretionary issues, but mostly by a bounce in energy and financial stocks. The Nasdaq Composite fell 76 cents to 2,249.
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