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Wall Street rough patch continues

Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 | 5:40 AM ET


U.S. stocks are enduring one of their roughest stretches of an otherwise upbeat year, with the Dow and S&P 500 coming off their first four-day losing streaks of 2013. Both have fallen in nine of 11 sessions, and both are about four percent below their recent all-time highs. The skid comes as treasury yields remain near their highest in more than two years.


Like Monday, investors will not have any economic reports to consider, though they'll continue to focus on the latest FOMC minutes due tomorrow afternoon. They will, however, have a number of key earnings reports to consider, with retailers Home Depot (HD), Best Buy (BBY), J.C. Penney, and TJX (TJX) all reporting this morning, along with medical products maker Medtronic (MDT). Intuit (INTU), Analog Devices (ADI), and La-Z-Boy (LZB) are among the companies set to report after today's closing bell.


Urban Outfitters (URBN) is among our stocks to watch, after reporting second quarter profit of 51 cents per share, three cents above estimates. The teen apparel retailer's results were helped by fewer discounts and higher profit margins, even though revenue was slightly below Street forecasts.


JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is the subject of a Justice Department investigation into energy market manipulation, according to Dow Jones. In July, the bank agreed to pay $410 million to settle similar allegations by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, although it did not admit to wrongdoing in that case.


BHP Billiton (BHP) reported second half profit that missed analyst forecasts after falling 15 percent from a year earlier, and its new CEO Andrew Mackenzie is also planning a less ambitious expansion into the potash market than previously planned.


Southwest Airlines (LUV) is being challenged in some of its markets by Allegiant Air, a smaller airline which has announced a new expansion into some East Coast markets served by Southwest.


Electronic Arts (EA) tells Reuters it expects a boost from new gaming consoles being released by Sony and Microsoft later this year. Chief operating officer Peter Moore said the company sees growth even for physical boxed games, a segment that has generally declined as customers switch to online and mobile gaming.


AOL (AOL) has won dismissal of a lawsuit accusing it and some executives of fraud. The case stemmed from a share buyback, and the subsequent $1 billion sale of a patent portfolio to Microsoft which resulted in a 43 percent single-day surge in the price of AOL stock.


Apple (AAPL) has hired fitness industry consultant Jay Blahnik, according to All Things D. Blahnik was a key developer of Nike's (NKE) FuelBand activity tracking device.