Dow Slumps in Light, Choppy Trading


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The blue-chip average capped a volatile, low volume trading day mildly lower as traders parsed through a smattering of corporate news and braced for the monthly jobs report due later in the week.

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Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 42.7 points, or 0.29%, to 14932, the S&P 500 dipped 0.98 point, or 0.06%, to 1614 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 1.1 points, or 0.03%, to 3433.

The third quarter got off to a rather strong start Monday, with stocks posting modest gains on the back of upbeat data on U.S. manufacturing. However, trading was choppier Tuesday.

Industrial and material stocks, like Boeing (NYSE:BA), United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) and Alcoa (NYSE:AA) took a pounding in late-afternoon trading. Only the telecommunications sector was in the green.

The focus shifted to corporate news, with the major automakers reporting June sales figures.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) said its sales climbed 13% in June from the year before to 235,643. It was the best June performance since 2006. General Motors (NYSE:GM) saw its sales rev up 6% to 264,843. Chrysler, meanwhile, said its sales jumped 8% in June from the same month in 2012 to 144,811 -- marking the highest June sales since 2007.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department said factory orders climbed 2.1% in May from the month before, narrowly beating estimates of a 2% gain. New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley also reiterated that talk of a rate hike sooner than the central bank has signaled is unlikely in a speech in Stamford, Conn.

Elsewhere in corporate news, Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF) unveiled a $1 billion stock buy-back plan. Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) said Don Mattrick, who was in charge of Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox development, will take over as chief executive.

Gold prices advanced for the third day in a row. The benchmark contract rose $1.10, or 0.09%, to $1,257 a troy ounce. Oil gained 35 cents, or 0.35%, to $98.33 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.83% to $2.761 a gallon.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 dipped 0.74% to 2603, the English FTSE 100 fell 0.39% to 6283 and the German DAX sold off by 1.1% to 7897.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rallied 1.8% to 14099 and the Chinese Hang Seng slid 0.7% to 20659.

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