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U.S. Stock-Index Futures Decline Amid Mounting Ukraine Tension

July 21 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures fell, after the biggest Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rally since April, as international condemnation of Russian President Vladimir Putin grew, following the downing of a passenger jet in Ukraine.

Reynolds American Inc. dropped 2.8 percent in early New York trading after a jury ordered a unit of the company to pay a Florida woman $23 billion for her husband’s death from lung cancer. Philip Morris International Inc. slipped 1.2 percent. Halliburton Co. gained 1.5 percent after reporting that second- quarter revenue topped estimates.

Futures on the S&P 500 expiring in September lost 0.2 percent to 1,967.2 at 7:33 a.m. in New York. The equity gauge rallied 1 percent on July 18, ending the week up 0.5 percent, after better-than-estimated sales at Google Inc. spurred a rebound in shares, outweighing concerns over tension in Ukraine and the Middle East. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts fell 38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,994 today.

“People are naturally cautious against these geopolitical events and the market having had such a strong rally,” said Patrick Spencer, the London-based head of equity sales at Robert W. Baird & Co., which oversees more than $100 billion. “These concerns are all geopolitical because earnings have been reasonable. Markets are nervous given we haven’t had a correction yet so people are thinking we’re overdue. People are just looking for reasons for the market to sell off.”

Russian Sanctions

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels tomorrow will consider tougher sanctions on Russian individuals and companies as world leaders pressure Putin to do more to end the violence that led to the deaths of 298 people on Malaysian Air flight MH17.

A total of 10 S&P 500 companies are reporting earnings today, including Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Netflix Inc. and Botox-maker Allergan Inc. About 76 percent of those that have posted results this season have beaten analysts’ estimates for profit, while 68 percent exceeded sales projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Earnings at S&P 500 members probably rose 6.2 percent in the second quarter, while sales gained 3.3 percent, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Reynolds retreated 2.8 percent to $57. A jury ordered one of the company’s units to pay Cynthia Robinson of Pensacola, Florida, punitive damages for the 1996 death of her husband, Michael Johnson, who was 36, Robinson’s lawyer said. Robinson originally sued R.J. Reynolds as part of a class action case against tobacco companies.

Philip Morris declined 1.2 percent to $85.03.

Expiration Date

Yum! Brands Inc. fell 1.8 percent to $76 after saying it halted buying meat products from a Shanghai supplier while authorities investigate allegations that the company sold chicken and beef past its expiration date. Yum said that would result in shortages of some menu items.

Halliburton added 1.5 percent to $72 after reporting that sales reached $8.05 billion in the second quarter, beating the average analyst estimate of $7.87 billion in a Bloomberg survey. The company also boosted its share buyback to $6 billion.

SunTrust Banks Inc. increased 2 percent to $40.50. The company posted adjusted earnings of 81 cents a share in the second quarter, topping the average analyst projection of 76 cents.

EMC Corp. rallied 5.3 percent to $28.40 after the Wall Street Journal reported that Elliott Management Corp. bought a stake in the maker of storage computers for more than $1 billion.

GoPro Inc. gained 2.1 percent to $42.28 after Piper Jaffray Cos. rated the stock overweight, the equivalent of a buy, as it started coverage of the camera maker. The brokerage has a 12- month price estimate of $48 a share.

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