Stocks edged higher at the open, as Wall Street weighed a fresh round of earnings reports . However, the major indexes slipped into the red, as concerns over U.S.-China trade relations were exacerbated by disappointing earnings from railroad giant CSX Corporation ( CSX ). By the close, the Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq had notched back-to-back losses, with the former marking the first session in six it hasn't hit a new record high.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 27,219.85) closed near its session low, down 115.8 points, or 0.4%. Caterpillar ( CAT ) led the 24 decliners with its 2.4% drop, while Boeing ( BA ) paced the six advancers with its 1.9% gain.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,984.42) surrendered its foothold atop 3,000, giving back 19.6 points, or 0.7%. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 8,185.21) dropped 37.6 points, or 0.5%.

The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 13.97) rose 1.1 points, or 8.6%.

Closing Indexes Summary July 17

NYSE and Nasdaq Stats July 17

5 Items on our Radar Today

  1. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency following an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 1,600 people have died from the deadly virus since August. However, WHO said the risk to those outside the region is low, and the declaration "should not be used to stigmatize or penalize the very people who are most in need of our help." ( MarketWatch )
  2. The Fed's Beige Book showed the economic activity in its 12 districts rose at a modest pace between mid-May and early June, relatively unchanged from the previous period. But while the report said the "outlook was generally positive for the coming months," it warned of a "possible negative impact of trade-related uncertainty." ( Fox Business )
  3. Hershey saw heavy options trading ahead of earnings.
  4. 2 retail stocks hit with "sell" ratings.
  5. Behind Nu Skin stock's bear gap .

Corporate Earnnings July 17

Unusual Options Activity July 17

Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Oil Slides After Disappointing Inventories Data

Oil prices continued to slide, with today's downside sparked by a slimmer-than-expected decline in domestic crude inventories last week. Crude for August delivery shed 84 cents, or 1.5%, to close at $56.78 per barrel.

Gold futures jumped as the dollar cooled. August-dated gold added $12.10, or 0.9%, to settle at $1,423.30 an ounce -- the malleable metal's highest close since May 2013.



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