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US stocks trade to the downside ahead of headlines

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US stocks trade to the downside ahead of headlines

Stocks on the American exchanges fell after key industry players cut their profit forecasts. As the earnings season winds down, market participants are looking ahead to an active second half of the week, headlined by monetary policy and economic data.

Best Buy Co (NYSE:BBY) fell almost 11 percent after announcing fourth quarter profits could take a hit. The electronics retailer will struggle to remain profitable amid plans to keep pace with competitor discounts during the holiday season, which begins at the end of the month. Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) declined more than 6.2 percent after quarterly earnings fell 30 percent, prompting the consumer staple to slash profit forecasts.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell more than 3 points to 1,787.87, one day after hitting 1,800 for the first time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined more than 8 points to 15,967.00 after briefly touching 16,000 the prior session. In total, 16 of the Dow’s 30 members reported declines, led by Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) , Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Visa Inc (NYSE:V) , which declined at least 1.09 percent.

Attention shifts back to monetary policy and economics in the second half of the week, headlined by the minutes of the October FOMC policy meetings, which could further elaborate on the central bank’s position regarding monetary stimulus.

“The economy is not doing badly, and the Fed is remaining very aggressive and very friendly toward the market,” said Bruce Bittles of RW Baird & Co. Earlier in the week Fed Bank of New York President William Dudley said the US economy isn’t strong enough to warrant a stimulus cut just yet.

Dudley’s comments will be weighed against several batches of government data later this week, including weekly jobless claims, consumer inflation, retail sales and previously-owned home sales. Markit Group will also report on the manufacturing economy. The US economy is expected to grow 1.7 percent this year, 2.9 next year and 3.4 percent in 2015, according to a revised forecast from the OECD.

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