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    04.08.2015 20:07 U.S. stocks fluctuated

    U.S. stocks fluctuated, after two days of declines, amid quarterly results from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. to Allstate Corp. while Apple Inc. slipped further into a correction.

    Allstate lost 10 percent as the insurer's profit plunged on a surge in auto claims. CVS Health Corp. fell 1.4 percent after narrowing its earnings forecast. Apple sank 2.2 percent to a six-month low. Regeneron and Sprint Corp. gained more than 5.3 percent as their earnings exceeded analysts' forecasts. Baxalta Inc. surged 14 percent after Shire Plc offered to buy the company for about $30 billion.

    The Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 0.1 percent to 2,095.06 at 3:04 p.m. in New York, after falling as much as 0.5 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 36.72 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,561.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index was little changed.

    "There's some concern over Apple -- it's a big stock that has a big impact on all the indexes," said Randy Warren, who manages more than $100 million at Exton, Pennsylvania-based Warren Financial Service & Associates Inc. "We've seen a lot of companies struggling this earnings season. There are a lot of global growth concerns out there."

    The S&P 500 rose 2 percent in July, the best monthly gain since February, as earnings from Inc. and Google Inc. countered declines by energy and mining stocks. The index closed Monday 1.5 percent below a record set in May.

    Some 31 S&P 500-listed companies are scheduled to release financial results today. Almost three-quarters of the benchmark's members have reported earnings this season, with 74 percent beating profit estimates and about half exceeding sales projections. Analysts now forecast a 2.8 percent drop in second-quarter earnings, shallower than calls for a 6.4 percent fall about three weeks ago.

    "When investors look at the tail-end of earnings season, you've had some companies come out and disappoint, and they've been punished for it," said Bill Schultz, who oversees $1.2 billion as chief investment officer at McQueen, Ball & Associates Inc. in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

    Data today showed factory orders rose 1.8 percent in June from the month before, in line with forecasts from economists surveyed by Bloomberg, and rebounding from two months of declines. Reports on the services industries and monthly payrolls are also due later this week, giving investors a gauge on the strength of the economy.

    The jobs report Friday will show an increase of 225,000 in July with the unemployment rate holding at 5.3 percent, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

    Federal Reserve policy makers have expressed a desire to see signs of a further pickup in the labor market before raising interest rates. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in July she expected the central bank to raise its benchmark rate this year, while emphasizing the pace of increases will probably be gradual.

    The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index rose 0.7 percent Tuesday to 12.65. The gauge, known as the VIX, on Friday posted its biggest monthly drop since February, down more than 33 percent.

    Six of the S&P 500's 10 main groups declined, led by utilities, energy and technology stocks. Raw-materials and consumer discretionary shares increased the most.

    Technology companies lost 0.5 percent as Apple fell for a fifth day, extending its decline over the period to 6.4 percent. The stock's retreat yesterday pushed it below the 200-day moving average, a level of resistance commonly watched by market technicians, for the first time since 2013.

    A group of semiconductor stocks in the benchmark U.S. equity gauge slipped for the third time in four sessions. Skyworks Solutions Inc. and Avago Technologies Ltd. decreased more than 2.1 percent.

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