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Stocks little changed, on track for weekly loss

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks were little changed Friday as investors assessed corporate news. The stock market is headed for its biggest weekly loss since April after ending the previous week at a record high.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index was little changed at 1,964 as of 1:54 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average fell nine points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,907. The Nasdaq composite gained 14 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,411.

SALES MISS: Industrial and construction supplies company Fastenal dropped $2.32, or 4.6 percent, to $45.94 after reporting sales that fell short of analyst's expectations. The company said revenue climbed 12 percent to $949.9 million from $847.6 million in the same quarter a year ago. Analysts expected $951 million.

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE: Tobacco company Lorillard rose $2.49, or 3.9 percent, to $65.59, after rival Reynolds American confirmed it was in talks with Lorillard and British American Tobacco, its largest shareholder, about an acquisition. Reynolds fell 87 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $61.38. Old Gold and Kent are among Lorillard's brands.

THE EARNINGS TAPE: U.S. companies are starting to report their results for the second quarter, and investors are expecting to see more growth in profits. Earnings for S&P 500 companies are forecast to rise by 6.5 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.

THE QUOTE: “The market is looking for signs of strength and certainly earnings are going to figure pretty heavily,” said Jim Russell, a regional investment director at US Bank.

JITTERY WEEK: The S&P 500 index is poised for its biggest weekly loss since April after closing out the previous week at a record high. Stocks retreated from all-time highs this week as investors worried the rally may have gone too far. Worries about the soundness of a Portuguese bank also spooked U.S. investors.

The S&P 500 has dropped 1.2 percent this week, its biggest fall since the week ending April 11, when investors sold stocks following disappointing bank earnings.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which falls when prices climb, dropped to 2.51 percent from 2.54 percent late Thursday. The price of oil fell $1.94, or 1.8 percent, to $101.01.

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