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US stocks move lower in quiet trade


NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks slipped in late-morning trading Tuesday, after two days of gains. Investors focused on problems in Ukraine and Iraq.

Energy stocks were among the biggest decliners, dragged down by lower oil prices.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,532 as of 11:20 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell six points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,931 and the Nasdaq composite fell 18 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,383.

GEOPOLITICAL TENSIONS: Fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine have subsided in recent days, but geopolitical issues are likely to remain one of the key drivers in financial markets coming weeks. Investors also have an eye on oil-rich Iraq. On Tuesday, Iraq’s embattled incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki struggled to remain in power as Iraqi politicians and the international community rallied behind a political competitor.

OIL SLICK: Energy stocks fell, and the S&P 500 energy index lost nearly 1 percent. Kinder Morgan declined 2 percent after rising 9 percent the day before. Anadarko Petroleum and Pioneer Natural Resources fell more than 2 percent. Chevron and Exxon Mobile were among the worst performers in the Dow.

Energy stocks have declined noticeably in the last month, due largely to falling oil and natural gas prices. Brent crude, which is traded in the U.K. and is considered a broader gauge of the international oil market, is trading at a nine-month low. U.S. crude is trading at a seven-month low.

On Tuesday, benchmark U.S. crude slipped 86 cents to $97.23 a barrel. That followed three days of increases on concerns about Iraqi oil production.

LEVEL UP: Electronic Arts rose 52 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $35.77. The video game publisher announced it would expand a popular video game subscription service to international markets. Subscriptions and downloadable products have become a popular business model in the video game industry in recent years, which used to be almost entirely based on one-time sales at stores.

BONDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was 2.43 percent, unchanged from the prior day.