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Stocks off to rocky start as earnings season begins

July 09, 2012|By Andrew Tangel
  • Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (David Karp / Associated…)

Stocks edged lower in early trading on Wall Street today as public companies were set to report their profits for the second quarter, an indicator of the strength of the U.S. and global economies.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 55 points, or 0.4%, to 12,718 shortly after the opening bell.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was off 5 points, or 0.3%, to 1,350. The Nasdaq was down 7 points, or 0.3%, to 2,930.

Major U.S. indexes lost about 1% Friday as the United States reported sluggish job growth in June. U.S. employers added only 80,000 jobs, keeping the unemployment rate at 8.2%, the Labor Department reported.

In Europe, Spanish and Italian 10-year bond yields increased Monday, a sign investors perceived higher risk that the countries would default on their debts. Spanish yields hovered around 7%; Italian yields were above 6%.

In Asia, economic data pointed toward slowing growth. Japanese machinery orders fell, Reuters reported, and Chinese inflation fell to its lowest point in 2 1/2 years.

U.S. aluminum producing giant Alcoa Inc. was set to announce earnings after trading closed on the New York Stock Exchange. Bloomberg News reported that Alcoa was expected to report an 84% drop in second-quarter earnings because of falling aluminum prices.

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