Merger and acquisition announcements, however, as well as
company-specific news including on Facebook and Alexion Pharma,
helped keep the S&P 500 and Nasdaq from bigger losses.
China's exports unexpectedly tumbled 18.1 percent in February,
against expectations for a 6.8 percent rise, swinging the trade
balance into deficit and adding to fears of a slowdown in the
world's second-largest economy.
"There's reasons to be a little cautious on the market. There's a
little bit of profit-taking," said Paul Zemsky, head of asset
allocation at ING Investment Management in New York.
"But the numbers are not persuasive enough to make me want to sell
U.S. stocks," he said. "The impact (of China) would have to go
beyond what we already expect from emerging markets."
Boeing Co <BA.N> shares lost 1.3 percent to $126.89 on another
production setback for the company's newest jet, as "hairline
cracks" were discovered in the wings of about forty 787 Dreamliners.
The weekend disappearance and presumed crash of a Malaysian airliner
made by Boeing was another headwind for the stock.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 34.04 points or 0.21
percent, to 16,418.68, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 0.87 points or 0.05
percent, to 1,877.17 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 1.775
points or 0.04 percent, to 4,334.448.
The S&P 500 had closed at a record of 1,878.04 on Friday.
Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold <FCX.N> lost 2.5 percent to $31.38 as
signs of a slowing China sent London copper to a more than
Facebook <FB.O> shares hit an intraday record of $72.15 after UBS
raised its price target on the online social media giant to $90,
from $72. They closed up 3.2 percent at $72.03.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals <ALXN.O> jumped 7.1 percent to $180 after it
raised its profit and sales forecasts for the year. The French
government agreed to raise reimbursement payments for the company's
treatment for two rare blood disorders.
Employees of Freescale Semiconductor <FSL.N> on the disappeared
Malaysia Airlines <MASM.KL> flight were doing sophisticated work at
the U.S. chipmaker, a company spokesman said on Sunday. They were
part of a broad push to make Freescale more efficient and cost
effective. Freescale shares fell 1.3 percent to $23.09.
[to top of second column]
Chiquita Brands <CQB.N> and Irish rival Fyffes <FFY.I>, Europe's
largest distributor, struck an all-stock merger deal to create the
world's biggest banana supplier. Chiquita shares jumped 10.7 percent
United Rentals Inc <URI.N> gained 3.8 percent to $91.82. The world's
largest equipment rental company said it agreed to buy
privately-held National Pump, the second-largest specialty pump
rental company in North America, for $780 million.
"Deals in general show people are looking for growth and good
ideas. They're taking shares out of the market and it shows there's
confidence in investors' minds," said ING's Zemsky.
FMC Corp <FMC.N> rose 6.7 percent to $83.10. The chemicals
manufacturer said it would split into two companies, one comprising
its minerals business and the other its agricultural, health and
Traders kept checks on Ukraine. Unidentified armed men fired in the
air as they moved into a Ukrainian naval post in Crimea on Monday in
the latest confrontation since Russian military groups seized
control of the Black Sea peninsula. Russia said the United States
had spurned an invitation to hold new talks on resolving the crisis.
About 6 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, according to data
from BATS Global Markets, below the daily average of about 6.98
billion so far this month.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the New York Stock
Exchange by a ratio of less than 4 to 3. On Nasdaq, seven issues
fell for every six that rose.
(Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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