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July 9, 2012 at 8:55 PM
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Stocks lower on earnings, EU debt

NEW YORK, July 9 (UPI) -- U.S. stocks dropped Monday for a third straight day on concerns about second-quarter earnings and the European Union debt crisis.

In late afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 36.18 points, or 0.3 percent, at 12,736.29.

Traders had been anticipating Alcoa's earnings report, which came in after the close. The aluminum maker was down from a year ago but still higher than Wall Street forecasts.

The S&P 500 Index was down 2.22 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,352.46.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 5.56 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,931.77.

There were 1,346 advancers and 1,699 decliners Monday on the New York Stock Exchange with a composite volume of about 2.9 billion shares traded.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year treasury note fell 12/32 to yield 1.516 percent.

The euro was $1.2298 from Friday's $1.2299. Against the yen, the dollar was 79.63 yen from 79.66 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index gave up 1.37 percent, 123.87 points, to 8,896.88.

Economists favor keeping Bush tax cuts

WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- A survey of economists said extending President George W. Bush's controversial tax cuts would be a good way to stoke the U.S. economy.

CNNMoney asked 15 economists to rank the proposed steps Congress could take to help spur on the recovery, and nine endorsed extending the Bush cuts, which are due to expire.

There was some difference of opinion on whether all or just some of the cuts should survive. CNNMoney said five economists favored extension of all cuts, but four liked the idea of extending them for the middle class but allowing breaks for upper-income taxpayers to expire.

Carl Riccadonna, senior economist at Deutsche Bank, told CNNMoney keeping all of the cuts made the most sense for both economic and political reasons.

"By pushing an extension for one group of taxpayers and not the other, you reduce the possibility of it being passed," Riccadonna said. "We don't need to raise taxes in the short term. When unemployment is down to 6 percent, we can talk about phasing out these tax cuts, even though that could be a while."

More disclosure proposed for mortgages

WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed new rules for U.S. mortgage lenders that would better prepare buyers for potentially unpleasant surprises.

The bureau said Monday its proposals were aimed at providing consumers with a simpler picture of how much their loan will cost them over the years so they can avoid finding themselves hit with unexpected increase in their payments.

"When making what is likely the biggest purchase of their life, consumers should be looking at paperwork that clearly lays out the terms of the deal," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a written statement.

The New York Times said the proposed rules, which are part of a broader effort to reform the mortgage market, would provide applicants with a "loan estimate" that outlines the terms and interest rates and the potential changes in costs they could face down the road.

The estimate would have to spell out how the buyer's interest rate could change if they fall behind and what the penalties for prepayment would be. The Times said lenders would be required to provide these detailed estimates within three days of an application, and also lay out full disclosure on closing costs.

The public will be able to comment on the proposals until Nov. 6.

More consumers doing mobile shopping

WORTHINGTON, Ohio, July 9 (UPI) -- Twenty-five percent of users of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets say the devices are their exclusive choice for online shopping, a U.S. survey found.

A survey by Biginsight, based in Ohio, found some consumers are becoming totally dependent on mobile devices for shopping and other activities, like checking personal e-mail and conducting searches, without ever using a PC or laptop, Mobile Commerce Daily reported.

Retailers involved in the online marketplace will need to focus on these mobile-only consumers, Pamela J. Goodfellow, consumer insights director of Biginsight, said.

"The takeaway for retailers is that their marketing strategies will have to be very nimble in order to keep up with the changing usage patterns and needs of mobile owners," she said.

One way to capture the mobile audience may be video, Goodfellow said.

"Video advertising via mobile distinguishes itself from the deluge of other banner ads, pop-ups, and mundane e-mails that mobile users may encounter; it seems that successful videos are ones that are attention-grabbing, succinct, relevant to the user, and perhaps most importantly, not perceived as an annoyance," she said. "Consumers are becoming increasingly dependent on their mobile devices for home, for work, and for life.

"Relying on traditional media, including TV, print, and even online, is becoming more outdated as months pass, literally," she said.

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