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U.S. stocks edge lower in shadow of U.K. terror attacks

U.S. stocks were slightly lower on Monday, with major indexes
retreating from record territory as investors grappled with a
variety of geopolitical issues, both domestic and abroad.

This week will deliver testimony by fired Federal Bureau of
Investigation Director James Comey, as well as the U.K. general
election, and a European Central Bank meeting. Separately, the
recent terror attack in the U.K. could amplify concerns, while
a rift among Gulf states, which led to a rise in crude-oil
prices, could further dictate investor sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average


fell 18 points, or 0.1%, to 21,188. The S&P


lost 3.3 points to 2,436, a decline of 0.1%. The
Nasdaq Composite Index


 slipped 4 points, or 0.1%, to 6,301. All
three indexes closed at records for a second straight session on Friday, as
investors brushed aside a weaker-than-expected May jobs report.

The FTSE 100 index

UKX, -0.36%

 and European stocks were weaker on Monday, after Saturday
evening’s terror attack near London Bridge. Three assailants in
a van mowed down pedestrians, then went on a knife rampage in
Borough Market. At least seven people died and scores were
injured, 21 critically.

“The market is in a wait-and-see mode. We’re trading near
all-time highs, earnings season is pretty much over, and we’re
waiting on clarity from central banks. Outside of the terrorism
factor, which has been elevated, we’re still looking for the
next bullish catalyst,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of 50
Park Investments. “However, the fact that we’re not down more
after an attack like this is a sign of strength. So long as
these kinds of attacks are fairly contained, they won’t change
the economic picture.”

Read: Police arrest 12 in London raids after terror

The terror incident comes just days ahead of the U.K. election
on Thursday. Investors will watch to see whether Prime Minister
Theresa May’s Conservative Party, which is looking for backing
for its strategy for exiting the European Union, will manage to
keep its majority in parliament. The vote could lead to more
uncertainty over Brexit.

Read: U.K. election—the worst, best and most likely
scenarios for stocks world-wide

And see: 5 things to know about the U.K. general
election this week

Economic docket: The latest
read on first-quarter output was revised higher, to 1.7% from
1%, while a read on productivity was raised from a -0.6% read
to an unchanged level.

A turbulent week ahead: The U.K. election is
just one of three key events expected on Thursday.

Former FBI head Comey, who was fired by U.S. President Donald
Trump last month, is due to testify before the Senate
Intelligence Committee on Russia’s role in the U.S.
presidential election on Thursday. Of key interest will be
comments by Comey as to whether he was pressured to drop a
probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and
Russian officials.

See: Top Democrat says there’s smoke, but ‘no
smoking gun’ yet in Russia probe

And check out: Trump weighing whether to block Comey
testimony to Senate

A European Central Bank meeting in Talinn, Estonia is scheduled
on the same day. Investors will be watching to see if the
central bank offers any clues about when it will begin tapering
its stimulus program.

In addition, stocks are entering a traditionally turbulent
period, with Bespoke Investment noting that equities tend to
fall around 0.79% in the two-week span between May 30 and June

Read: Stock market bracing for potentially the
stormiest stretch of trading this year

Stocks to watch: Shares of TG
Therapeutics Inc.


 fell 0.7%, reversing an early gain after the
company announced positive trial news over the weekend
regarding a combination treatment for patients with previously
treated high-risk Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

The drugmaker said it would share the data with the Food and
Drug Administration later this year to discuss filing for
accelerated approval.

Apple Inc.


 shares slipped 1.1% after Pacific Crest
downgraded shares to sector weight from
, saying all the good news from the iPhone 8 has
been priced in, but not enough risk.

U.S. private-equity firm Blackstone Group


 has made a $1.98 billion takeover bid for
real-estate investor Sponda PLC

SDA1V, +20.70%

sending the Finnish company’s shares surging over 20% on

Other markets: Gold prices


 inched higher. The British pound

GBPUSD, +0.2870%

slipped after Saturday evening’s terror
. Asian stocks

ADOW, -0.23%

 finished the day largely weaker.

Oil prices


pared a gain of more than 1% seen earlier
in the European session and in Asian trading. The rise was
driven by news that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United
Arab Emirates had cut relations with Qatar after accusing the
country of interfering in internal affairs and
supporting terrorism

That news left the Qatar QE index down more than 7% on Monday. The iShares
MSCI Qatar Capped ETF


the largest exchange-traded fund to track the
country’s equity market, sank 9.7%.

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