Stocks Slip; Housing Data, M&A in Focus

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The markets slumped on Monday as traders mulled data on the housing market and the latest batch of corporate mergers and acquisitions. 

Today's Markets

As of 3:05 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 28.4 points, or 0.18%, to 15530, the S&P 500 dipped 4.6 points, or 0.27%, to 1687 and the Nasdaq Composite slumped 9.4 points, or 0.26%, to 3604.

It's merger Monday.

Hudson's Bay said it will buy Saks (SKS) for $16 a share in a deal valued at $2.9 billion, including debt. The move will bring iconic brands like Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and The Bay under one corporate roof. Generic drugmaker Perrigo (PRGO) revealed plans to buy Ireland's Elan (ELN) for $8.6 billion. Meanwhile, Omnicom (OMC) and Publicis said they would merge, creating a titan in the advertising industry. 

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It's set to be a busy week. The first reading of U.S. gross domestic product is due out on Wednesday, then the all-important monthly jobs report is due out on Friday. Both pieces of data provide information on how the world's biggest economy is faring. There is also a two-day Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting on tap. 

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors reports signed contracts to buy previously-owned homes fell 0.4% in June, a shallower decline than the 1% analysts expected. The leading indicator was up 10.9% from the same month in 2012.

Commodity markets were mildly higher. The benchmark U.S. crude oil contract rose 16 cents, or 0.15%, to $104.86 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline gained 0.38% to $3.056 a gallon. In metals, gold jumped $14.50, or 1.1%, to $1,336 a troy ounce. 

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.24% to 2748, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.5% to 6555 and the German DAX slumped 0.65% to 8245.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 plummeted 2.3% to 13810 and the Chinese Hang Seng fell 0.58% to 21841.

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