Stocks Open Lower As Corporate Earnings Loom

By MarketsMarketWatch Pulse

Stocks opened in negative territory on Monday as investors looked ahead to the start of corporate earnings season. The S&P 500 index slipped 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,275, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 37 points, or 0.2%, to 19,925. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index gained four points, or 0.1%, to 5,525. Earnings season kicks off later this week with reports from J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America Corp. . Shares of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc. shot higher in early trade after the company said Sunday it will sell its oncology assets. McDonald's Corp. rose after the company signed a deal to sell a controlling stake in its China unit to an investor group led by one of China's biggest state-owned companies, Citic Ltd.

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