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Stocks Slip to Start Week              07/21 16:56

   The stock market started the week with a slight loss on Monday as investors 
weighed a mixed batch of corporate earnings against mounting political turmoil.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- The stock market started the week with a slight loss on 
Monday as investors weighed a mixed batch of corporate earnings against 
mounting political turmoil.

   European leaders called for imposing tougher sanctions on Russia for its 
backing of separatists accused of shooting down a Malaysia Airways passenger 
plane in Ukraine last week. The European Union's foreign ministers will meet 
Tuesday to discuss their next steps.

   In Washington, President Barack Obama demanded that international 
investigators get full access to the crash site and said the separatists had 
blocked investigators.

   "It looks like we hit a speed bump," said Jack Ablin, chief investment 
officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago. "Earnings are coming through quite 
nicely so far, but geopolitics trump earnings today."

   The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4.59 points, or 0.2 percent, to close 
at 1,973.63. Seven of the 10 industry groups fell, led by retailers and other 
consumer-discretionary companies.

   The Dow Jones industrial average fell 48.45 points, or 0.3 percent, to 
17,051.73, while the Nasdaq composite lost 7.44 points, or 0.2 percent, to 

   European markets ended lower. Germany's DAX dropped 1.1 percent while 
France's CAC-40 lost 0.7 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.3 percent.

   A few well-known companies turned in results that fell short of estimates on 
Monday. The toy maker Hasbro reported second-quarter earnings and revenue that 
came in below analysts' targets. Rising sales of My Little Pony, Transformers 
and other toys weren't enough to stem a decline in sales of games such as 
Twister. Hasbro's stock sank $1.43, or 2.7 percent, to $51.78.

   Six Flags Entertainment posted higher profits and sales in the second 
quarter, but the theme-park operator's revenue came up short of what analysts 
had expected, partially a result of sluggish attendance. Six Flags slumped 
$1.69, or 4.1 percent, to $39.31.

   Despite the dour news, the second-quarter earnings season is off to a strong 
start: Of the 88 companies that have reported results so far, 58 have beaten 
analysts' estimates.

   Nearly a third of the companies in the S&P 500 index will hand in their 
quarterly results this week, including such heavyweights as Apple on Tuesday, 
Boeing on Wednesday and Amazon on Thursday.

   In other trading on Monday, benchmark U.S. crude oil rose $1.46 to $104.59 a 
barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In the market for U.S. government 
bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.47 percent from 2.48 
percent late Friday.

   Among other companies in the news, Yum Brands fell $3.29, or 4.3 percent, to 
$74.13 amid a new food-safety scare in China. The operator of KFC and Pizza Hut 
restaurants said its stores in China stopped buying products from a Shanghai 
supplier, while local officials investigate allegations that the supplier 
repackaged old beef and chicken and stamped new expiration dates on them.


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