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US stocks slip in afternoon trading ahead of busy week for earnings, Fed meeting on rate

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NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are mostly lower in afternoon trading on Monday as investors brace for a busy week of corporate earnings. European shares rallied on the hopes that Greece will strike a deal with its creditors for new bailout money after it reshuffled its negotiating team.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 10 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 18,069 as of 3:07 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged lower by five points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,112. The Nasdaq composite fell 29 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,062.

The slight drop follows gains for markets last week. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose to yet another record, and the Nasdaq finally climbed back from its losses in the dot-com crash to hit its first high in fifteen years.

AWAITING EARNINGS: More than 150 companies in the S&P 500 report quarterly results this week, including Ford, Visa, Pfizer and Exxon Mobil. Investors are anxious because falling oil prices and a strengthening dollar have hammered first-quarter results at some companies. Per-share earnings for the S&P 500 are expected to fall 0.8 percent from a year earlier, according to S&P Capital IQ, a provider of financial data.

That would be the first drop since 2009, but is better than the 2.4 percent drop expected two months ago.

THE QUOTE: "With S&P 500 near an all-time record high, I think we have some profit taking here," said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors. One catalyst he cited: Less bad earnings than expected. "Managements have done a very good job of talking the earnings down, so they've be been able to engineer an upside surprise."

EYE ON APPLE: Apple rose $1.42, or 1 percent, to $131.70 as investors waited for quarterly results due out after U.S. markets close. The world's No. 1 company by market value is being closely watched for signs of how its new Apple Watches are doing.

Apple has soared more than 60 percent in the past 12 months, and is the biggest component in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes.

REEL DEAL: Mylan dropped 6 percent after the generic drugmaker rejected a $40 billion buyout offer from Teva Pharmaceuticals, a cash-and-stock deal that Mylan says undervalues it. The company's stock fell $4.57 to $71.49.

CHIP CHOP: Applied Materials fell $1.74, or 8 percent, to $20.06 after calling off its $9.4 billion acquisition of Tokyo Electron Ltd. The two big semiconductor industry suppliers said that they were told by the Department of Justice that there were antitrust concerns.

PHOTO: Trader John O'Hara wears an Ironman mask as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, April 27, 2015, in New York. Actors Jeremy Renner and Robert Downey Jr. rang the NYSE opening bell Monday with representatives from Marvel Entertainment. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Trader John O'Hara wears an Ironman mask as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, April 27, 2015, in New York. Actors Jeremy Renner and Robert Downey Jr. rang the NYSE opening bell Monday with representatives from Marvel Entertainment. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

DUPONT BREAKUP?: DuPont jumped $3.42, or nearly 5 percent, to $74.94 after activist investor Nelson Peltz gained a powerful backer Monday in his effort to split the chemical maker into two companies. Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services said that change may be warranted at DuPont and recommended shareholders give the billionaire investor seats on its board.

U.S. ECONOMY: Investors were preparing for a two-day meeting of the Fed that starts Tuesday during which policymakers may discuss whether to raise a key interest rate from the near-zero level for the first time in 6 ½ years. While the Fed has no plans to update its forecasts, the meeting "will be closely watched to see if markets had been too eager to push out Fed hike expectations, especially now that oil prices have pushed above $55/barrel," DBS said in a report.

GREECE IS THE WORD: Greece on Monday reshuffled its team that is negotiating a bailout, raising hopes that it will be able to avert a default. Some see the shake-up as a way to reduce the clout of Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who has been criticized for failing to put together a list of changes that the country's European creditors want before they release new loans. Greece's government is expected to run out of money to pay its bills in another few weeks.

The Greek stock index rallied on the news, closing up 4.4 percent. Yields on the country's two-year bonds — a gauge of market fears that the country might default —fell almost 2 percentage points.

EUROPE RISES: France's CAC-40 index rose 1.3 percent and Germany's DAX gained 1.9 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.5 percent.

The big corporate news out of Europe on Monday came from Deutsche Bank, which said its quarterly profits had dropped by half and that it would reorganize its global operations.

JAPAN DOWNGRADE: Fitch Ratings downgraded Japan's debt to A from A+ citing a lack of government reforms to the budget, weak growth, and high debt. The Japanese government has increased spending to kick start growth but analysts say the plan has not been followed up sufficiently well with moves to control government debt. The rating announcement came after Tokyo's market closed.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei shed 0.2 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 3 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.3 percent. Seoul's Kospi declined 0.1 percent. India's Sensex fell 0.6 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 12 cents to $57.03 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 119.10 yen from 118.95 yen. The euro rose slightly to $1.0885 from $1.0883.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices fell, pushing up the yield on the 10-year Treasury to 1.93 percent.


AP Writer Joe McDonald contributed to this report from Beijing.

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PHOTO: A trader wearing an Avengers t-shirt works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, April 27, 2015, in New York. Actors Jeremy Renner and Robert Downey Jr. rang the NYSE opening bell Monday with representatives from Marvel Entertainment. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
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