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Stock indexes lose ground as energy prices fall

A sign for Wall Street outside the New

A sign for Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange on July 15, 2013. Photo Credit: AP

Major U.S. stock indexes closed modestly lower Monday, with some of the biggest declines coming in oil and gas companies as energy prices turned lower.

Companies that rely on consumer spending also lost ground. Utilities and telecom stocks, which pay large dividends, bucked the downward trend as bond yields fell.

Investors had their eye on corporate earnings. Some 80 of the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index are scheduled to report their quarterly results this week. How those companies fared in the third quarter, and how they see their prospects for growth in coming months, should give traders a better handle on the state of the economy.

“You have a market that is trying to decipher where the economy is headed, what companies are telling us and what the Fed is poised to do come December,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 51.98 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,086.40. The S&P 500 index slid 0.3 percent, to 2,126.50. The Nasdaq composite index also fell 0.3 percent, to 5,199.82.

The three indexes have posted weekly declines the past two weeks. The Dow and Nasdaq are up about 3.8 percent for the year, while the S&P 500 is up 4 percent. — AP

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