(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed in red after a report showed an unexpected drop in retail sales for June even as investors remained cautious ahead of slew of corporate earnings reports this week amid concerns about the global economy.
S&P 500 Index retreated 0.23 percent to close at 1,353.64. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.39 percent to end at 12,727.21. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.40 percent to finish at 2,896.94.
On the domestic economic front, a report from the Commerce Department showed that retail sales for June fell 0.5 percent, for the third straight month. Excluding autos, retail sales declined 0.4 percent. Economists expected a 0.2 percent gain in retail sales and a 0.1 percent rise in retail sales that exclude autos.
Meanwhile, the New York Federal Reserve's empire state manufacturing survey showed the main index for July jumped to 7.4 versus 2.3 in June, also coming in above expectations of a reading of 4.0.
The companies due to report earnings this week include: Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and General Electric (NYSE:GE).
Hot Stocks Of The Day: C, V, MA, ANR, HGSI, PRX, WWD, GCI
In corporate news, Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) posted second-quarter earnings came in better than Wall Street projections. The banking giant earned $1.00 per share, excluding items, and revenue of $18.9 billion. Net credit losses plunged 31 percent from the year-ago period. Shares closed 0.60 percent higher.
Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) and Mastercard Inc. (NYSE:MA) rose 2.75 percent and 1.70 percent, respectively, after the companies reached agreements with merchants to settle litigation related to credit-card processing fees.
Human Genome Sciences (NASDAQ:HGSI) added 4.49 percent following reports that GlaxoSmithKline Plc (NYSE:GSK) is close to a deal to acquire the biopharmaceutical company for as much as $3 billion.
Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:ANR) dropped 10.22 percent. Bank of Montreal downgraded its rating on the stock to "Underperform" from "Outperform".
Par Pharmaceutical Companies Inc. (NYSE:PRX) rallied 36.69 percent after the maker of generic drugs agreed to be acquired by private investment firm TPG for $50 per share, or $1.9 billion. The deal represents a 37 percent premium to PRX's previous closing price.
Woodward Inc. (NASDAQ:WWD) lost 4.19 percent after the provider of energy control services reduced its earnings and sales forecast for 2012, citing ERP system-related issues and lower defense sales at its aerospace segment. The Fort Collins, Colorado-based company now expects earnings per share in the range of $1.90 to $2.00 for the year.
Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE:GCI) added 2.66 percent after the media company posted quarterly earnings that topped market expectations helped by Internet revenue growth.
European markets closed on a mixed note, with Germany's DAX up 0.13 percent to close at 6,565.72. France's CAC40 edged 0.03 percent lower to finish at 3,179.90. U.K.'s FTSE 100 slipped 0.07 percent to end at 5,662.43.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index retreated 1.74 percent to close at 2,147.96. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 0.15 percent to end at 19,121.34. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,103.31, down 0.64 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 was shut for a holiday.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures rallied 1.27 percent to $88.21 per barrel while natural gas futures lost 2.54 percent to $2.801 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures dipped 0.14 percent to $1,589.7 per ounce and silver futures fell 0.23 percent to $27.305 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro rose 0.23 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2277. The British pound gained 0.40 percent against the greenback to 1.5637, while the dollar fell 0.43 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.8600.