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U.S. stocks fall; Alcoa leads gainers on Dow

January 9, 2012, 11:40 AM

U.S. stocks traded mostly lower Monday morning but Alcoa Inc. aa was a standout, leading the gainers on the Dow Jones Industrial Average ahead of the aluminum giant’s fourth-quarter results due out after the market closes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average djia was down 12.94 points, or 0.1%, at 12,347.58 after tapping a high of 12,401.02 earlier.

Alcoa traditionally kicks off the earnings season but for U.S. stocks, it’s more about Europe, said Keith Springer, president of Springer Financial Advisors and author of Facing Goliath: How to Triumph in the Dangerous Market Ahead. “The market is getting the feeling that [European Central Bank President Mario] Draghi will act more like [U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben] Bernanke and less like [Draghi’s predecessor, Jean-Claude] Trichet and lower interest rates and also be open to stimulus,” he said.

The S&P 500 Index spx fell 1.38 points, or 0.1%, to 1,276.43, with telecommunications services the top decliner among its subsectors. The Nasdaq Composite comp lost 5.08 points, or 0.2%, to trade at 2,669.14, though shares of Inhibitex Inc. inhx more than doubled in value. Bristol-Myers Squibb bmy plans to buy Inhibitex for $2.5 billion — a roughly 160% premium over the company’s closing price on Friday.

–Myra Saefong

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