- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 11, 2009

NEW YORK | Stocks fell modestly Monday in the absence of any major corporate or economic developments. Investors were also cautious ahead of earnings reports from major retailers and a two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve on interest rates that starts Tuesday. Bond prices jumped as stocks fell.

The day’s selling wasn’t surprising after major indicators shot up 1 percent last week, including a surge Friday in response to the government’s stronger-than-expected jobs report.

With employment and housing numbers looking better, consumers are likely to be one of the market’s main concerns during August. Big retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Macy’s Inc. report earnings this week, and others will release results in the coming weeks. There appeared to be some nervousness ahead of those reports, as retailers were among the biggest losers Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 32.12, or 0.3 percent, to 9,337.95. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 3.38, or 0.3 percent, to 1,007.10, while the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 8.01, or 0.4 percent, to 1,992.24.

Eight stocks fell for every seven that rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to a light 1.09 billion shares.

In bond trading, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 3.77 percent from 3.86 percent late Friday. The gains follow a steep drop Friday after the employment hurt demand for the safety of government debt. Investors are also bracing for a record $75 billion auction of debt that starts Tuesday.

In corporate news, McDonald’s Corp. said sales at restaurants open at least 13 months rose 4.3 percent in July. The nation’s largest hamburger chain rose $1.07, or 1.9 percent, to $56.27.

Among other retail stocks, Macy’s fell 76 cents, or 4.75 percent, to $15.23. Best Buy Co. fell $2.09, or 5.26 percent, to $37.66.

The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices fell.

Light, sweet crude fell 33 cents to settle at $70.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Russell 2000 Index of smaller companies fell 0.53, or 0.1 percent, to 571.87.

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