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Stocks Slump on Earnings, Eurozone Jitters


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The benchmark U.S. stock indices retreated Monday amid nervousness about second-quarter reporting season and rising Spanish bond yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 36 points, or 0.28%, at 12,736. The blue-chip index, which has now fallen in three straight sessions, did catch a slight bounce toward the end of session to finish roughly 50 points above the day's low of 12,686.

The S&P 500 dipped 2 points, or 0.16%, to finish at 1352, and the Nasdaq shed nearly 6 points, or 0.19%, to settle at 2931.

Within the Dow, 15 of 30 components moved lower, led by Bank of America (BAC), du Pont (DD), Exxon (XOM) and Caterpillar (CAT).

Blue-chip gainers included Merck (MRK), Verizon (VZ) and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT).

Shares of Boeing were also among the index's winners after Air Lease (AL) placed an order valued at $7.2 billion for 60 of the company's 737 MAX 8 and 15 737 MAX 9 airplanes. Boeing's stock rose 0.5% on the day.

The weakest sectors in the broad market were energy, consumer cyclicals and basic materials. Conglomerates and health care recorded gains.

Overall, expectations for second-quarter earnings are muted. According to data from Thomson Reuters, analysts are expecting year-over-year growth of 5.8% from the S&P 500. However, the financials are benefiting from an easy comparison to last year because of the Bank of America (BAC) mortgage lawsuit settlement. Excluding Bank of America, second-quarter growth is estimated to be just 0.7%. Excluding the entire financials sector, earnings are estimated to dip 0.3% year-over-year.

"It looks like the analyst community has been lowering expectations for the near quarters but leaving the fourth quarter intact as far as higher growth to keep full-year numbers where they want them," said Brian Lazorishak, portfolio manager and quantitative analyst at Chase Investment Council. "This is the time of year when you need to start reining in those fourth-quarter expectations."

"Even if you get good news at times, the stronger dollar is having a reverse effect on equities," added Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. "Generally speaking, earnings is going to be much weaker than what we've been expecting. The market has already prepared itself for that. I think it will be a nervous earnings season. But it won't be one where we'll see negative earnings for all the sectors."

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