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Stocks close with modest losses

Trader Robert Arciero, center, works on the floor

Trader Robert Arciero, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. Stocks are little changed in early trading as traders look ahead to the start of corporate earnings season. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

U.S. stocks slipped modestly at the close Tuesday as investors assessed the latest company reports and data on China trade. Twitter rose after announcing that it would lay off staff as it strives to turn a profit. Ryder System, a transportation company, fell sharply after lowering its profit forecast for the third quarter.

At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was down nearly 50 points, about 0.3 percent, at nearly 17,082. The Standard & Poor's 500 index had lost 13.8 points, about 0.7 percent, to 2,003.7. The Nasdaq composite gave up 42.1 points, nearly 1 percent, to 4,869.6.

CRUDE ENERGY: As the markets closed, the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil was down 44 cents, about 1 percent, at $46.66 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

ON THE MOVE: Twitter announced it would lay off up to 336 employees, about 8 percent of Twitter's workforce of 4,100 people. Twitter shares gained 31 cents, about 1.1 percent, to close at $29.06. Ryder lost $7.02, about 9.3 percent, to close at $69.63.

CHINA DATA: Imports plunged 20.4 percent from a year earlier to $145.2 billion, customs data showed Tuesday, worse than August's 5.5 percent decline and analysts' expectations of about 15 percent. Exports shrank 3.7 percent, though that was an improvement from the previous month's 13.8 percent decline. Weakness in trade has fueled doubts Beijing can hit its economic growth target this year of about 7 percent.

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