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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

NEW YORK (AFP) – U.S. stocks were mixed in early trade Monday as the market looked ahead to housing data and a big Federal Reserve gathering in Wyoming later in the week.

An hour into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 7.64 (0.05 percent) to 15,073.83.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.12 (0.01 percent) to 1,655.95, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite added 14.57 (0.40 percent) at 3,617.35.

U.S. stocks have suffered two straight losing weeks on the back of mediocre economic data, poor earnings for the retail sector and a jump in bond yields at concern the Federal Reserve could soon begin tapering its bond-buying program.

This week’s economic calendar features the release of minutes from the Fed’s last policy meeting and several important housing market indicators, as well as the Fed’s annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on August 22-24.

Banking giant and Dow component JPMorgan Chase fell 1.4 percent following reports that it faces a regulatory probe on its hiring practices in China. The investigation is the latest instance of regulatory scrutiny in the wake of a $6.2 billion trading loss in 2012.

Intel, another Dow component, gained 2.9 percent after being upgraded by Piper Jaffray, which suggested the shares were oversold on unwarranted fears that the market for personal computers was going to disappear.

High-end retailer Saks slipped 0.1 percent after reporting a deeper-than-expected quarterly loss and revenues that came in at $707.8 million, lower than the projected $732.6 million. Saks announced in July that it would be acquired by Hudson’s Bay Co. for $2.9 billion.

Cobalt International Energy tumbled 13.7 percent after two exploration wells disappointed: an offshore Gabon well produced natural gas and condensate instead of oil and Gulf of Mexico well failed to find oil in commercial quantities.

Edwards Group Ltd., which makes sophisticated vacuum products used in manufacturing, jumped 18.1 percent after announcing it would be acquired by Atlas Copco of Sweden for $1.6 billion.

Bond prices continued to fall. The yield on the 10-year U.S. bond rose to 2.86 percent from 2.83 percent Friday, while the 30-year increased to 3.87 percent from 3.86 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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Ken Bennett

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

Ken Bennett, the Arizona State Senate's liaison to its review of 2020's presidential election ballots, threatened to resign from that post live on conservative talk radio on Monday, saying that Cyber Ninjas, the Senate's pro-Trump contractors, have concealed their results from him for months and could even be manipulating audit data.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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