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Stocks End Lower on Global Tensions

Kevin O'Shaughnessy

U.S. Market
Stocks ended lower Monday as concerns about the escalating military conflict in Gaza weighed on global markets. Also drawing worries were international relations with Russia, which might endure additional economic sanctions from Europe following last week's crash of a Malaysia Airlines jet, which Russia-supported separatists allegedly shot down in Ukraine.

In the United States, few economic-data reports were scheduled for release Monday, but the Fed Bank of Chicago said its National Activity Index came in at 0.12 for June versus May's reading of 0.16. The three-month moving average fell, as well, but by remaining higher than zero, both the June index and the three-month reading show that the economy is still expanding at a faster pace than historical economic activity would indicate.

The Dow fell 0.3%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq lost 0.2%.

Stocks on the Move
Vodafone Group (VOD) and Portugal Telecom (PT) announced an agreement to share a fiber network covering 900,000 homes. Each company will contribute 450,000 homes that already have fiber to the home built out, which will take PT's coverage to about 2.1 million homes, and Vodafone's to about 1.5 million. Vodafone plans to continue building its network out to reach about 2 million homes by the end of 2015. Both firms will develop their own marketing and pricing plans and compete for the same customers. Vodafone's ADR shares fell 1%, but PT's ADR shares rose 4.7%.

Halliburton (HAL) posted second-quarter earnings per share of $0.91, in line with Wall Street expectations, while the firm's revenue of $8.05 billion exceeded consensus forecasts. Halliburton also announced it is increasing its stock-buyback program to $6 billion. Shares gained 0.1%.

Allergan (AGN) shares rose 2.2% after the firm's adjusted EPS and revenue each came in better than Street forecasts. Allergan also announced a cost-restructuring move that will eliminate 1,500 jobs.