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Stock Market Today: Geopolitical Tensions Hang Heavy Over Stocks


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Benchmark U.S. stock indices were dipping Monday, though the S&P 500 remained sitting near all-time highs. Geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip pulled markets lower, though the outlook on earnings growth remained promising.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was falling 0.37% to 17,037.6. The S&P 500 was behind by 0.37% to 1,970.91. The Nasdaq was slipping 0.36% to 4,416.01.

The possibility of additional western sanctions against Russia are mounting this week as more and more evidence leads back to Russia as being responsible for helping rebels in Ukraine destroy Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, killing all 298 aboard.

Israel and Gaza remain in the headlines after a major ground battle on Sunday between Israel and the Hamas killed 65 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers.

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The U.S. market calendar was devoid of major economic data Monday, with earnings sitting front and center. Wall Street expects second-quarter earnings at online streaming company Netflix to have more than doubled to $1.16 a share from 49 cents a year earlier, even as the company invests more in production and international expansion. Chipmaker Texas Instruments is expected to post earnings of 59 cents a share in the second quarter on revenue of $3.27 billion. Chipotle Mexican Grill is forecast to report second-quarter earnings of $3.08 a share on revenue of $989.6 million. Apple will be disclosing its latest financial statement on Tuesday, with Boeing and Facebook on Wednesday.

An S&P Capital IQ report said that analysts are currently expecting earnings growth for calendar 2014 to come in at 9.6% on top of the -2.1% result from 2013. All 10 sectors, with the exception of utilities and telecom, are expecting earnings growth in 2014, with IT leading the growth.

S&P Capital IQ said of the 84 companies that have reported earnings results for the second quarter, 56 have topped analysts' estimates, 15 have missed, and 13 have met.

TheStreet's Susannah Lee has Monday's Opening Bell action on Wall Street:

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Other stocks to watch include McDonald's , Yum! Brands , Steel Dynamics , AK Steel , EMC , 21st Century Fox , Time Warner and Hasbro .

21st Century Fox is considering using proceeds from the sale of its Italian and German pay-TV assets to boost its offer for Time Warner, Bloomberg reported, citing two people familiar with the matter. Elliott Management Corp. has taken a stake of more than $1 billion in EMC and plans to push the data-storage giant to break itself apart, The Wall Street Journal reported. Severstal, the Russian steelmaker, will sell its U.S. plants to Steel Dynamics and AK Steel for $2.33 billion. The sale would mark Severstal's exit from the U.S. and comes amid tightening sanctions against Russian concerns because of Russia's alleged involvement in the crisis in Ukraine. McDonald's and Yum's KFC in China faced a new food safety scare Monday after a Shanghai television station reported a supplier sold them expired beef and chicken. McDonald's shares were off 0.82% and Yum! shares were down 3.5% to $74.68.