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Stocks Turn Lower as HP, Apple Slide

Stocks turned lower Monday, after an early boost from merger-and-acquisition activity, as weakness crept into techs, banks and homebuilders.

The Dow Jones Industrial Averagewas down more than 10 points, after being up more than 70 earlier.

This came after the Dow and the S&P 500 saw two straight weeks of losses, with the S&P moving lower in three of the past four weeks.

AIG shares rose following news that the company's aircraft-leasing unit ILFC has reapid nearly $4 billion in loansto the U.S. government.

3M shares rose after executives said the company, which makes everything from Scotch tape to Post-It notes, plans to spend about $2 billion on acquisitions in 2010.

As companies look to squeak in mergers before tax cuts expire, a few bidding wars have emerged.

But Hewlett-Packard skidded after the tech titan made a bid for data-storage company 3Par at $24 a share, which represents a 33 percent premium against a previous offer from Dell.

Other techs also declined, including Intel , Google and Apple .

Weakness also nagged at banks and homebuilders, with Morgan Stanley down more than 1 percent and Beazer Homes off more than 2 percent.

BHP Billiton's hostile offer for Canada's Potash could see competition as two potential rival bidders have emerged, according to reports. BHP is due to launch a charm offensive in Canada this week to strengthen its chances of securing the deal.

The news also pushed other companies in the space higher, including Compellent Technologies and Isilon.

UK bank HSBC announced it plans to buy up to 70 percent of South Africa's Nedbank.

There are no significant economic or earnings announcements scheduled for Monday but an event in Overland Park, Kansas could provide insight over the next two days. The House Financial Services Oversight subcommittee begins a conference titled "The End of Excess." Kansas City Federal Reserve President Thomas Hoenig is the featured panelist at the early part of the opening session.

Researchers at Gilead Sciences have announced that it a treatment it is developing for alcoholism may also be effective in treating cocaine addiction.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals dropped more than 20 percent after advisory panel rejected the company's fibromyalgia treatment amid concerns that it could be used as a "date-rape" drug.

And Blackstone Group agreed to a deal with Hong Kong's Great Eagle Group to build high-end apartments in China, according to the Financial Times.

In the commodities markets, the price of wheat rose once again in the wake of the Russian drought and oil traded near a six-week low.

This Week:

MONDAY: Earnings from Burger King
TUESDAY: Existing home sales, Richmond Fed survey, 2-year Treasury note auction.
WEDNESDAY: MBA mortgage applications, advance report on durable sales, new home sales, weekly oil inventories, 5-year Treasury note auction.
THURSDAY: Weekly jobless claims, 7-year Treasury note auction.
FRIDAY: GDP, corporate profits, consumer sentiment; Earnings from Tiffany

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