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Stock rally fades as investors await growth reports

Specialist Neil Gallagher works at his post on

Specialist Neil Gallagher works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange last week. (July 22, 2013) Credit: AP

Three days before the end of the month, the recent rally in stocks may be fading.

The stock market edged lower Monday as a big week for economic news began.

At the end of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 36.86 points at 15,521.97. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 0.37 percent at 1,685.33. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.39 percent to 3,599.14.

Wednesday the government will report its first estimate of U.S. economic growth for the second quarter, and on Friday it publishes its monthly jobs survey.

Both reports will give investors a better idea about the strength of the economy and what's next for the Federal Reserve's stimulus program. Investors will hear from the Fed Wednesday after the bank's two-day policy meeting. Monday the National Association of Realtors said the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes dipped in June from a six-year high in May. The slight decline suggests higher mortgage rates may be starting to slow sales.

Should rates rise too quickly the Fed will likely keep up with its stimulus for longer, said Colleen Supran, a principal at Bingham, Osborn and Scarborough, a wealth management firm.

"We really need the housing market to stay on track to keep economic growth on track," said Supran.

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