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Stocks Skid Amid Eurozone Uncertainties; S&P Falls 1.2%


The U.S. economic calendar is comparatively light this week after last week's data deluge.

The Census Bureau said Monday that factory orders rose 1.8% in December after falling by a downwardly revised 0.3% in November. Economists were expecting factory orders to rise 2.2% in December.

"Although slightly light relative to consensus expectations, this report further corroborates the picture of manufacturing reacceleration painted by the recent ISM data," said John Ryding and Conrad DeQuadros, the founders of research firm RDQ Economics.

This week, 89 companies in the S&P 500 are expected to report fourth-quarter earnings, according to Thomson Reuters .

The Thomson Reuters report, released Friday evening, said fourth-quarter earnings are now expected to grow 3.8% from a year earlier.

Of the 239 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings to date for fourth quarter, 68% have reported earnings above analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters . This is higher than the long-term average of 62% and higher than the average over the past four quarters of 65%.

Gold for April delivery added $5.80 to settle at $1,676.40 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while March crude oil futures lost $1.60 to close at $96.17 a barrel.

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The benchmark 10-year Treasury gained 16/32 to lower the yield to 1.960%. The dollar rose 0.45%, according to the U.S. dollar index .

In corporate news, Clorox(CLX) posted quarterly earnings of 93 cents a share on revenue of $1.33 billion, surpassing the average analyst estimate of 81 cents a share on revenue of $1.27 billion. The consumer products company's home-care business experienced a surge in demand for disinfecting wipes due to the severity of this year's flu season. Shares gained 0.71%.

The company raised its full-year outlook to 3% to 5% sales growth.

Oracle(ORCL) opened its wallet again, announcing a $1.7 billion deal to acquire networking specialist Acme Packet (APKT) . Acme Packet shares soared 23%. Oracle shares shed 3.1%.

Herbalife (HLF) shares slumped 1.3% as the New York Post reported that the weight-management and nutritional-supplements company is the subject of a law-enforcement probe.

Humana(HUM) posted fourth-quarter earnings of $1.19 a share, beating the average Wall Street forecast of $1.07 a share as the health insurer's operating cost ratio declined. Revenue came in at $9.56 billion, versus the average expectation of $9.73 billion. Shares popped 4.7%.

Sysco(SYY) shares tumbled 2.7% after the North American distributor of food and related products said its quarterly net earnings decreased 11.5% from the prior year with food cost inflation at 2.5%, driven mainly by increases in the poultry and meat categories.

-- Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse .