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Stocks unnerved by Malaysian plane crash; the Dow loses 161 points

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The crash of a Malaysian plane flying over Eastern Ukraine apparently after it was hit by a missile unnerved the stock market. The Dow (^DJI) lost 161 points to close at 16,977, while the Nasdaq (^IXIC) fell 63 points to 4,363 and the S&P 500 (^GSPC) fell 23 points to 1,958 -- all near the day's lows.

Even before news broke about the crash in early afternoon, stocks were trading lower because of additional sanctions announced by the U.S. and EU against Russia for supporting separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine. In late afternoon the U.N. Security Council announced it would hold an emergency meeting Friday on the situation in Ukraine.

In other news, the Commerce Department said U.S. home construction fell 9.3% in June to 893,000 -- the  lowest number since September 2013. And initial jobless claims fell last week 3,000 to 302,000, according to the Labor Department.

Microsoft (MSFT) announced it will cut 18,000 jobs in the next year. The layoffs, equivalent to about 14% of the company’s workforce, is the largest in the history of the tech giant.  The announcement comes a week after CEO Satya Nadella emailed a memo to employees outlining his vision for the company. Microsoft shares rose 45 cents to close at $44.53, presumably because job cuts could help boost profits.

Alibaba will reportedly hold its initial public offering in early September rather than August, as previously expected. The IPO is potentially worth $20 billion. Yahoo (YHOO) currently owns a 22.6% stake in Alibaba.
Shares of power company Dresser-Rand (DRC) closed up $7.58 at $68 after a German magazine reported the company is considering a takeover offer from Siemens (SIEGY).
SanDisk (SNDK), maker of digital storage devices, lost almost 14% to close at $93.21. The company reported better-than-expected second quarter earnings and revenue but lowered its third quarter outlook, which weighed on shares.

Shares of toymaker Mattel (MAT) fell almost 7% to close at $36.46 after the company reported revenue and earnings that missed estimates largely because of falling Barbie sales. Shares of automotive retailer AutoNation (AN) lost more than 8% to close at $55.82 after it reported disappointing earnings. Yum! Brands (YUM), owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, closed down $5.70, or 7%, at $77.01 after earnings missed estimates by a penny.
Google (GOOGL) lost almost $9 a share during the session to close at $573.73 but recovered most of that loss in afterhours trading following the release of its latest earnings report which included better-than-expected revenues.

IBM (IBM) shares, in contrast, rose slightly during the session, up 13 cents to $192.49, but fell in afterhours trading because of a decline in revenue even though earnings overall were better than expected. GE (GE) reports before the bell tomorrow morning.