Stocks Opened Mostly in Retreat, Fed,ECB Eyed

U.S. stocks began by wavering between tepid gains and losses on Monday, as investors await potential action by the European Central Bank and possible signals of more stimulus to come from the Federal Reserve later this week.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately was off 7.34 points at 13,068.32. The S&P 500 index lost 0.57 point to 1,385.40. The Nasdaq Composite added 8.02 points to 2,966.11.

The European Commission on Monday said its July economic sentiment indicator for the 17-nation euro zone fell to 87.9 from 89.9 in June. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a reading of 88.9. The consumer confidence index fell to -21.5 in July from -19.8, while the industry sentiment index dropped to -15.0 from -12.8, the commission said.

Several banks under investigation for suspected rigging of euro interest rates are cooperating with EU antitrust regulators in the hope of lower fines, two people familiar with the matter said on Monday, putting them at a higher risk of lawsuits. The European Commission is investigating possible manipulation of Euribor, the benchmark used when pricing bank lending in euros.

Apple Inc. and Twitter Inc. held discussions more than a year ago about Apple possibly making a strategic investment in the short-messaging service, at a time when many technology giants were playing catch-up in social media. That dynamic prompted a flurry of activity by established players that suddenly found themselves a step behind a big digital trend. Apple and Twitter also face common rivals such as Google Inc. and Facebook Inc.

HSBC PLC is to take a $700 million charge to cover the cost of U.S. fines arising from its failure to stamp out money-laundering at the bank. The provision was announced as the bank reported an 11 percent gain in pretax profit in the first half of the year, boosted by $4.3 billion in gains from asset sales.

Oil futures climbed further above the $90-a-barrel mark in Asia on Monday amid growing optimism for stronger action from European policy makers. Crude for September delivery rose 55 cents, or 0.6%, to $90.67 in electronic trading on Monday.

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