Stocks fell early Monday as traders trimmed positions following the best week for blue chips in more than a year. Index futures recently showed the S&P 500 trading 1.5 points below fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a 3-point decline. The 10-year Treasury bond was down 1/32 in price to yield 5%, while the dollar rose against the euro and fell against the yen. Oil firmed as conflicting signals continued to emanate from the Middle East on the prospects for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah. Israel agreed to a 48-hour moratorium on bombing Sunday after a raid in southern Lebanon killed more than 50 people, many of them women and children. In electronic Nymex trading, September crude gained 44 cents to $73.68 a barrel. Overseas markets were mixed, with London's FTSE 100 down 0.5% to 5943 and Germany's Xetra DAX off 0.4% to 5681. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei rose 0.8% overnight to 15,457, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up 0.1% to 16,971. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is coming off its best week since late 2004 as several government reports suggested the U.S. economy has slowed enough to preclude the need for more rate hikes. For the five sessions, the Dow rose 3.2%, while the S&P 500 added 3.1% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 3.7%. On tap Monday is the Chicago Purchasing Managers' report index for July and earnings from Chipotle ( CMG) and Whole Foods ( WFMI) after the bell. On Saturday, Wal-Mart ( WMT) said same-store sales rose 2.4% in July, up from June's 1.2% gain. July's rise was toward the high end of Wal-Mart's expected range for same-store sales growth of 1% to 3%. Early Monday, Humana ( HUM) said second-quarter earnings rose 10% from a year ago to $89.5 million, or 53 cents a share, wiping out estimates for 35 cents a share. The health insurer also reiterated full-year profit guidance. To view Farnoosh Torabi's video take on today's market,
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SanDisk ( SNDK) will exchange $1.5 billion of stock for fellow flash memory supplier Msystems ( FLSH). At about $35.99 an Msystems share, the price is a 13% premium to Friday's close. Late Friday, Pfizer ( PFE) said CEO Hank McKinnell will cede his post to Vice Chairman Jeffrey Kindler and retire ahead of schedule. McKinnell has presided over a 37% decline in the drug company's shares during his five years at the helm.