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Stocks fall on jitters over earnings, tech rout

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors are growing anxious that earnings growth is faltering. And their concern drove the stock market lower for a second straight day on Friday.

Weaker results at JPMorgan Chase dragged bank stocks lower. And big drops in once-soaring tech stocks pushed the Nasdaq composite down for a third week.

The first-quarter earnings season has just started, but investors seem in little mood to wait for results

Financial analysts expect earnings for companies in the S&P 500 index to drop 1.6 percent from a year earlier, according to FactSet, a financial data provider. At the start of the year, they expected a jump of 4.3 percent.

On Friday, the Nasdaq dropped 54 points, or 1.3 percent, to 3,999. It was only the second time this year the index has closed below the 4,000 mark. February 3 was the last time it ended below that level.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 143 points, or 0.89 percent, to 16,026. The S&P 500 fell 17points, or 0.95 percent, to 1,815.


Will tech stocks continue their fall?

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market hasn't had a correction -- meaning a fall of 10 percent from recent highs -- since 2011. Investors will be watching again today to see if one might be in the works -- at least, when it comes to technology stocks.

Investors drove the market lower for two straight days at the end of the week. And big declines in tech stocks left the Nasdaq below the 4,000 mark. That index has fallen for three weeks in a row.


Asian stocks decline after US losses

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets fell today following two days of U.S. declines and forecasts of lower American corporate profits.

The declines came after investors drove U.S. markets lower for a second day Friday due to anxiety that earnings growth was faltering.

Financial analysts expect earnings for companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 to drop 1.6 percent from a year earlier, according to FactSet, a financial data provider. That was a reversal from the start of the year, when they expected a jump of 4.3 percent.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $104 a barrel after Ukraine's government announced Sunday it was sending in troops to try to quash a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine despite warnings from the Kremlin. Markets have been rattled by concern Western sanctions against Moscow might disrupt Russian exports of oil and gas.

The dollar fell against the yen and was nearly unchanged against the euro.


Business and economic reports due out today

WASHINGTON — There are a couple of government reports today that will be of interest to investors. Both are from the Commerce Department. One report involves retail sales data for March; the other business inventories for February.

Another week of first-quarter earnings results kicks off today with Citigroup. The big bank will report quarterly financial results before the market opens.


Finance ministers: Economy stronger but fragile

WASHINGTON (AP) — The world's top financial officials say they believe the global economy is strengthening but growth remains fragile and open to risks of new geopolitical strife, as in Ukraine.

Rich countries have been helping power the recovery led by the United States and Britain, and the eurozone and Japan are doing better. However, there has been some slowing in major emerging markets such as China even though these economies have been powering along at growth rates ahead of developed nations.

Many countries still are experiencing painfully high unemployment rates with millions looking for work.

The conclusion of discussions Saturday at the International Monetary Fund and its sister institution the World Bank ended three days of talks.


Cost of fighting warming 'modest,' says UN panel

BERLIN (AP) — The head of the U.N.'s expert panel on climate change says the cost of keeping global warming in check is "relatively modest," but only if the world acts quickly to reverse the buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.

The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change's report on measures to fight global warming says such gases, mainly CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, rose on average by 2.2 percent a year in 2000-2010, driven by the use of coal in the power sector.

Without additional measures to contain emissions, global temperatures will rise about 3 degrees to 4 degrees Celsius (5 degrees to 7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 compared to current levels, the panel said.

The IPCC said large changes in investments would be required. Fossil fuel investments in the power sector would drop by about $30 billion annually while investments in low-carbon sources would grow by $147 billion. Annual investments in energy efficiency would grow by $336 billion.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called it a global economic opportunity.


French minister in Cuba as Europe seeks opening

HAVANA (AP) — A French foreign minister is visiting Cuba for the first time in 30 years at a time when the communist-led Caribbean nation is seeking to draw more foreign investment and improve ties with the European Union.

Laurent Fabius quickly met with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez after arriving Saturday.

The European Union suspended cooperation with Cuba in 2003 when the island's government jailed 75 dissidents. Dialogue resumed five years later, though it was conditioned on improvements in the human rights situation. In February, the EU's foreign ministers approved talks to negotiate a broad new political agreement with Cuba.

The French foreign ministry says Fabius will promote alliances between the two nations' firms and support French companies that want to do business in Cuba.


Glencore Xstrata selling Peruvian mine for $5.85B

NEW YORK (AP) — Glencore Xstrata Plc has agreed to sell its copper mine project in Peru for $5.85 billion in cash.

In an announcement made Sunday, the Switzerland-based company said it signed an agreement to sell its entire interest in the Las Bambas copper mine to a Chinese consortium led by MMG Limited, a mining company whose biggest shareholder is backed by China's government. The other members of the group are Guoxin International Investment Corp. and Citic Metal Co.

The agreement also requires the buyers to reimburse Glencore for the cost of developing the copper mine from the start of the year until the sale closes. In the first three months of the year, those costs were roughly $400 million, according to Glencore's statement.

The company said it expects to close the sale before the end of September. It still needs MMG's shareholders and China's Ministry of Commerce to approve the deal.


Chances of getting audited by IRS lowest in years

WASHINGTON (AP) — As millions of Americans race to meet Tuesday's tax deadline, their chances of getting audited are lower than they've been in years.

Budget cuts and new responsibilities are straining the Internal Revenue Service's ability to police tax returns.

This year, the IRS will have fewer agents auditing returns than at any time since at least the 1980s.

Taxpayer services are suffering, too, with millions of phone calls to the IRS going unanswered.

Last year, the IRS audited less than 1 percent of all returns from individuals, the lowest rate since 2005.

This year, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen (KAHS'-kihn-ihn) says the numbers will go down.

The IRS budget is down nearly $1 billion from a few years ago, just as the agency is gearing up to enforce the president's health law.


Opponents carve anti-pipeline message into field

NELIGH, Neb. (AP) — Opponents of a proposed pipeline to carry Canadian oil south to the Gulf Coast have carved a message of resistance into a Nebraska field in the project's path.

The 80-acre artwork, which was done last week and reads "Heartland#NoKXL," is the latest protest environmentalists and landowners have employed against TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Critics of the pipeline want President Barack Obama to reject the project because they fear it could contaminate groundwater and contribute to pollution.

TransCanada has said the pipeline will have upgraded safety measures, including remote control shut-off valves and frequent inspections. It has already built the southern leg of the pipeline between Oklahoma and Texas.

The section of the project that still needs approval would cross Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.


With $41.4M, 'Captain America' holds off 'Rio 2'

NEW YORK (AP) — With $41.4 million in its second week of release, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" held off "Rio 2" at the weekend box office.

According to studio estimates Sunday, the Marvel superhero narrowly bested the animated family film in a battle of sequels. "Rio 2" debuted with $39 million, almost exactly the opening weekend total of the 2011 Oscar-nominated original.

Two other new releases opened in a distant third and fourth place.

The low-budget supernatural horror film "Oculus" took in $12 million. The football drama "Draft Day" debuted with $9.8 million. Starring Kevin Costner, "Draft Day" was made with the cooperation of the National Football League.

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