Stocks slip as global turmoil trumps earnings

Trader Dudley Devine, center, works on the floor

Trader Dudley Devine, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, July 18, 2014. (Credit: AP / Richard Drew)

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The stock market started the week with some losses Monday as investors weighed a mixed batch of corporate earnings against mounting global political turmoil.

At the close on Wall Street, The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4.6 points, or about 0.2 percent, to close at 1,973.6. Seven of the 10 industry groups fell, led by retailers and other consumer-discretionary companies. The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day minus 48.5 points, or nearly 0.3 percent, at 17,051.7, while the Nasdaq composite lost 7.4 points, or nearly 0.2 percent, at 4,424.7.

The day's international events kept investors off balance. European leaders called for imposing tougher sanctions on Russia for its backing of separatists accused of shooting down a Malaysia Airways passenger plane in Ukraine on Thursday. The European Union's foreign ministers will meet Tuesday to discuss their next steps.

In Washington, President Barack Obama demanded that international investigators get full access to the crash site and said the separatists had blocked investigators.

"It looks like we hit a speed bump," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago. "Earnings are coming through quite nicely so far, but geopolitics trump earnings today."

A few well-known companies turned in results that fell short of estimates on Monday. The toy maker Hasbro reported second-quarter earnings and revenue that came in below analysts' targets. Rising sales of My Little Pony, Transformers and other toys weren't enough to stem a decline in sales of games such as Twister. Hasbro's stock sank $1.43, or 2.7 percent, to $51.78.

Six Flags Entertainment posted higher profits and sales in the second quarter, but the theme-park operator's revenue came up short of what analysts had expected, partially a result of sluggish attendance. Six Flags slumped $1.69, or 4.1 percent, to $39.31.

Despite the dour news, the second-quarter earnings season is off to a strong start: Of the 88 companies that have reported results so far, 58 have beaten analysts' estimates.

Nearly a third of the companies in the S&P 500 index will hand in their quarterly results this week, including such heavyweights as Apple on Tuesday, Boeing on Wednesday and Amazon on Thursday.

Among other companies in the news, Yum Brands fell $3.29, or 4.3 percent, to $74.13 amid a new food-safety scare in China. The operator of KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants said its stores in China stopped buying products from a Shanghai supplier, while local officials investigate allegations that the supplier repackaged old beef and chicken and stamped new expiration dates on them.

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