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Stocks Close Slightly Lower Monday     10/14 16:00

   Stocks capped a wobbly day of trading on Wall Street with modest losses 
Monday, a shaky start to the week for the market after its first weekly gain in 
a month.

   (AP) -- Stocks capped a wobbly day of trading on Wall Street with modest 
losses Monday, a shaky start to the week for the market after its first weekly 
gain in a month.

   Losses in consumer goods makers, utilities and technology stocks helped 
outweigh gains in banks and real estate companies. A 2% drop in crude oil 
prices also hurt energy stocks.

   Trading was choppy for much of the day after falling in the early going. The 
muted trading wiped out some of the gains from a rally on Friday, when 
investors welcomed signs of progress in the latest round of trade negotiations 
between the U.S. and China.

   Washington and Beijing agreed to a truce, with the U.S. holding off on 
tariffs set to kick in this week and China agreeing to buy more farm goods. But 
the U.S. has yet to cancel plans for more tariffs in December and the nations 
still have several complicated issues to negotiate, which may have dimmed some 
of the optimism about a broader trade deal.

   "We kind of peeled back the layers and said, 'Hey, was this really a 
significant trade deal, or was it just a little bit of window dressing to make 
everybody feel like there was actually a trade deal?'" said Karyn Cavanaugh, 
senior markets strategist at Voya Investment Management. "The market is 
digesting that."

   The S&P 500 index slipped 4.12 points, or 0.1%, to 2,966.15. The Dow Jones 
Industrial Average dropped 29.23 points, or 0.1%, to 26,787.36. The Nasdaq gave 
up 8.39 points, or 0.1%, to 8,048.65.

   Small-company stocks did worse than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 
index lost 6.47 points, or 0.4%, to 1,505.43.

   Bond markets and the U.S. government were closed for the Columbus Day 

   Stocks opened broadly lower Monday, but trading soon turned choppy, leaving 
the market veering between small gains and losses the rest of the day.

   The modest pullback followed last week's market rally, when investors 
applauded the progress made by the U.S. and China following two days of 

   The U.S. agreed to suspend a planned hike in tariffs on $250 billion of 
Chinese goods that had been set to kick in Tuesday. Beijing, meanwhile, agreed 
to buy $40 billion to $50 billion in U.S. farm products.

   The truce was a result of the 13th round of negotiations between the nations 
since the trade war began well over a year ago.

   But the key sticking points of intellectual property and trade secrets still 
hang over the dispute. And the overall picture hasn't changed for companies, 
which are still holding off on forecasts and investments because of the 
uncertain trade situation.

   "There is not yet a viable path to existing tariffs declining and tariff 
escalation remains a meaningful risk," Michael D. Zezas, a Morgan Stanley 
strategist, wrote in a note to clients. "Thus, we do not expect a meaningful 
rebound in corporate behavior that would drive global growth expectations 

   In a research note sizing up Friday's partial trade deal announcement, 
J.P.Morgan analysts noted that while the talks have delivered a tentative truce 
between the two nations, the gap between that truce and peace "could be large, 
and U.S.-China tension could escalate again, especially into the election 

   Benchmark crude oil fell $1.11 to settle at $53.59 a barrel. Brent crude 
oil, the international standard, dropped $1.16 to close at $59.35 a barrel.

   Investors are looking ahead to the start of the third-quarter earnings 
season, with companies beginning to report results over the next few weeks.

   Several major banks are due to issue their latest quarterly financial 
results this week. JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will all report 
results on Tuesday. Bank of America and PNC Financial will report results on 

   Investors will be watching for information on income from loans as banks 
contend with sinking bond yields. Falling yields force banks to set lower rates 
on mortgages and other kinds of loans.

   Expectations for S&P 500 companies' third-quarter results are generally low, 
with analysts forecasting a drop of 4.2% from a year ago. The results, plus 
what CEOs say about their spending and revenue forecasts, should give a better 
picture of the economy's potential direction.

   "The market is a little bit nervous about earnings because there are some 
estimates out there that say there's going to be negative growth," Cavanaugh 
said, noting she expects overall earnings for the July-September quarter to 
show growth from a year ago.

   Wholesale gasoline fell 3 cents to $1.61 per gallon on Monday. Heating oil 
declined 4 cents to $1.92 per gallon. Natural gas rose 7 cents to $2.28 per 
1,000 cubic feet.

   Gold rose $9.00 to $1,491.70 per ounce, silver rose 17 cents to $17.63 per 
ounce and copper was unchanged at $2.62 per pound.

   The dollar fell to 108.37 Japanese yen from 108.52 yen on Friday. The euro 
weakened to $1.1031 from $1.1041.

   European markets closed lower. 


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