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Stocks lower on weak U.S. earnings outlook

Trader Gregory Rowe, center, works on the floor

Trader Gregory Rowe, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday. On Monday, Wall Street looked as though it would open lower with Dow Jones industrial futures down 0.4 percent to 13,485. (Oct. 5, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

Investors looked warily at forecasts for poor U.S. corporate earnings and weaker growth in Asia and decided there wasn't much reason to buy stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average gave up 26.50 points to close at 13,583.65 points Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.35 percent to 1,455.88 and the Nasdaq composite lost 0.76 percent to 3,112.35.

Companies in the S&P 500 index are expected to post an overall decline in profits for the first time in 11 quarters, according to FactSet. The third-quarter earnings season starts Tuesday when aluminum maker Alcoa releases its results.

Tuesday also marks the five-year anniversary of the record high closes of the Dow and the S&P 500. The S&P, a benchmark tracked by many mutual funds, is currently about 7 percent below its record high. The Dow is about 4 percent below its peak.

Stocks have been on a strong run, with the Dow up 11 percent this year, the S&P 500 nearly 16 percent. But Asia's slowdown, Europe's problems and now forecasts of weak U.S. corporate earnings have caused some investors to wonder whether the stock market has risen too far too fast.

U.S. government bond trading was closed for the Columbus Day holiday.-- AP


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