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Markets & Finance

Stocks Finish Lower

Stocks finished lower after a rise in the 10-year Treasury yield and a rebound in oil prices raised inflation concerns. Recent bombings in Egypt and England, and concern over the impact of the yuan revaluation kept an overhang on the

market, notes Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 54.70 points, or 0.51%, to 10,596.48. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 4.65 points, or 0.38%, to 1,229.03. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 13.00 points, or 0.60%, to 2,166.74.

The market showed little reaction to a better than expected report on existing home sales for June, which rose 2.7% to a record 7.33 million unit annual pace from an upwardly revised 7.14 million in May.

The most closely-watched economic news of the week will be Friday's advance GDP figure. The GDP is expected to rise 3.2%, with a 2.5% in the chain price index, marking a slowdown from the past two quarters, which have seen 3.8% gains in each. Also ahead, July's consumer confidence figure on Tuesday, and New Home sales on Wednesday.

Whirlpool (WHR) raised its bid for competitor Maytag (MYG) to $18 per share from $17. A representative from Maytag said that the sweetened proposal may beat out the proposal from a group led by Ripplewood Holdings, which was originally in talks to buy the appliance maker, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

In other M&A news, Ivax (IVX) agreed to be acquired by Teva pharmaceuticals (TEVA) in a deal valued at roughly $7.4 billion. Ivax holders will receive either $26 per share in cash, or roughly 0.85 shares of Teva stock.

In earnings news Monday, Xerox (XRX) posted second-quarter net profits of 20 cents a share, vs. 21 cents a sharelast year. Lower-than-expected margins offset a 2% rise in revenue.

BellSouth (BLS) reported a more than 20 percent drop in profit in the second-quarter, on a slight rise in revenue. The Atlanta-based telecom posted earnings of $795 million, or 43 cents a share, vs. 54 cents a share for the year-ago quarter. The company also said that excluding wireless merger costs tied to its 40% ownership of Cingular Wireless, it had earnings of $849 million, or 46 cents a share.

Avaya (AV) announced third-quarter earnings after the close Monday. The company reported earnings of $194 million, or 40 cents per share, vs. 13 cents per share last year.

Up ahead on the earnings calendar, look for reports from Electronic Arts (ERTS), Sun Microsystems (SUNW), and Verizon (VZN) on Tuesday, and Hilton Hotels (HLT) on Wednesday.

Crude oil prices settled higher, as prices rebounded from early morning profit-taking activity. The price of oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange finished up 35 cents to $59.00 a barrel.

b>Treasury Market

Treasury yields pushed higher in reaction to the strong housing figures and hawkish comments from fed-watcher John M. Berry, who pointed toward the Fed's inflation concerns. The 10-year note yield traded higher at 4.24%.

World Markets

European stock markets finished higher Monday. London's FTSE 100 index closed up 28.90 points, or 0.55%, to 5,270.70.

Germany's DAX index rose 5.80 points, or 0.12%, to 4,842.70.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index gained 6.60 points, or 0.15%, moving to 4,422.12.

Asian markets closed higher on Monday. In Japan, the Nikkei index closed up 67.60, or 0.58%, at 11,762.65.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 7.57 points, or 0.05%, moving to 14,794.03.

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