U.S. Stocks Finish Lower
09/10/2012| 07:06am US/Eastern
--Stocks end lower; DJIA falls 52, S&P 500 loses 8.8
--Technology stocks drop most; telecommunications stocks finish higher
--AIG falls after U.S. Treasury says it will reduce its stake
NEW YORK--Stocks fell for the first time in three sessions, as the market caught its breath after last week's ascent to multiyear highs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 52.35 points, or 0.4%, to 13254.29, closing near the session's low. Monday's drop pushed the Dow from a December 2007 high, and clinched the benchmark's 13th decline out of 15 in the week's first trading session.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index dropped 8.84 points, or 0.6%, to 1429.08. Technology-sector stocks were Monday's worst performers. Intel, which said on Friday that its revenue in the third quarter will be less than it expected, was the Dow's biggest decliner, shedding 93 cents, or 3.8%, $23.26.
The tech-oriented Nasdaq Composite Index eased 32.40 points, or 1%, to 3104.02, dropping back from its highest level since 2000.
Telecommunications stocks were the only sector to finish higher. Sprint shot up 12 cents, or 2.4%, to 5.15 after analysts at Nomura raised their stock-recommendation rating to "buy," citing cost savings from the wireless carrier's network upgrade. Verizon Communications added 34 cents, or 0.8%, to 44.06.
Plains Exploration & Production sunk 4.24, or 11%, to 36.09 after agreeing to purchase Gulf of Mexico assets from Royal Dutch Shell and BP PLC for around $6 billion.
American International Group declined 69 cents, or 2%, 33.30 after the U.S. Treasury Department said it will trim its ownership stake in the insurer by more than half, selling $18 billion of the company's stock.
"We're not seeing much alacrity in any stocks, and not sensing that the action is anything definitive," said Gordon Charlop, managing director at Rosenblatt Securities on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. "We're still in this holding pattern based on the macro data."
Monday's pullback followed strong stock gains last week after the European Central Bank signaled that it will prop up the single-currency region. Those assurances powered the S&P 500 last week to its biggest weekly advance in three months.
In the U.S., expectations have been rising that the Fed will announce additional measures to support the U.S. economy. Those views intensified following last week's softer-than-expected August jobs report.
"You digest what the ECB did, and digest the payrolls numbers. We just broke out of a narrow range where things were trading for a while--you had those nice moves and now is a chance to settle in, take a breath, and get ready to see what the Fed does later this week," said William Delwiche, an investment strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co.
European markets edged lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.2%, after news reports on Sunday revealed that Greece's efforts to mitigate its debt load hit a snag. Investors also voiced caution ahead of the German constitutional court's ruling over the legality of participating in Europe's permanent bailout fund, due Wednesday.
Asian markets were mixed to slightly higher after disappointing data from China, the world's second-largest economy. China's Shanghai Composite tacked on 0.3% after data showed that country's imports unexpectedly fell in August. Exports remained weak. In addition, the pace of growth in industrial production slowed in August to the lowest rate since May 2009.
Crude-oil futures eased 0.1% to settle at $96.54 a barrel, while gold futures fell 0.5% to end at $1,728.70 a troy ounce. The dollar gained ground against both the euro and the yen. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasurys rose to 1.685%.
In corporate news, Titan Machinery slumped 5.95, or 23%, to 19.41 after the agricultural and construction-equipment retailer reported fiscal second-quarter earnings that missed expectations as margins fell, and lowered its full-year earnings outlook.
Mellanox Technologies lost 9.20, or 8.3%, to 101.65 after the company said its chief financial officer, Michael Gray, will retire in November.
Michael Kors fell 2.53, or 4.5%, to 53.50 after the company said certain shareholders intend to sell up to 23 million shares of the luxury retailer in a secondary offering.
Heating, ventilating and air-conditioning-systems provider KSW surged 90 cents, or 22%, to 4.97 after agreeing to be acquired by Related Cos., a closely held New York real-estate developer, for $32.1 million in cash. Related will pay $5 per share of KSW, a premium of about 5% to the company's Friday close.
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