* Alcoa to post earnings after the close
* WellPoint to acquire Amerigroup, shares jump
* Indexes off: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.3 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, July 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were were modestly
lower on Monday as investors weighed weak economic data in Asia
as they looked to the upcoming U.S. earnings season for more
evidence on the health of the global economy.
Japan's core machinery orders fell at a record pace of 14.8
percent in May, far worse than the 3.3 percent forecast, while
inflation in China eased to a 29-month low of 2.2 percent in
The data comes on the heels of Friday's disappointing U.S.
jobs report which showed non-farm payrolls grew by only 80,000
Alcoa Inc will kick off earnings season after the
closing bell with the aluminum giant expected to post a 5-cent
per share profit for the second quarter. Shares slipped 1
percent to $8.64.
Investors will closely monitor corporate earnings for signs
the euro zone debt crisis has dented corporate profits,
especially among multinational companies.
"Focusing on macro has been the trend and China reporting
weaker than expected inflation data and a sluggish global
outlook, all these things are out there and they are in play
just like Friday's unemployment number," said Gordon Charlop,
managing director at Rosenblatt Securities in New York.
"Ultimately the question is are companies making money - are
lower gas prices translating into enough of a relief for
consumers that they are spending money on other goods and
services - so the next quarter will tell us exactly how
sustainable this recovery is."
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 48.66
points, or 0.38 percent, to 12,723.81. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index lost 4.37 points, or 0.32 percent, to 1,350.31. The
Nasdaq Composite Index fell 7.22 points, or 0.25
percent, to 2,930.11.
Spanish bond yields rose past the 7 percent level viewed as
unsustainable by many analysts ahead of a meeting by euro zone
finance ministers later in the day. Diplomats said the country
will be granted an extra year to reach its deficit targets after
it outlines further budget savings to finance the ministers.
Amerigroup Corp jumped 37.9 percent to $88.75 after
the company agreed to be acquired by rival WellPoint Inc
for about $4.46 billon. WellPoint shares advanced 3.9 percent to
$62.24 while fellow health insurer Wellcare Health Plans Inc
surged 13.9 percent to $60.14. The Morgan Stanley
healthcare payor index climbed 9 percent.
Celgene Corp is one of two companies discussing
whether to bid for Human Genome Sciences Inc, which
seeks an alternative to a hostile offer by British drugmaker
GlaxoSmithKline Plc, a source familiar with the
situation said. Human Genome shares slipped 0.1 percent to
Boeing Co gained 0.9 percent to $74.38 as the top
boost to the Dow after the company said it finalized an airplane
order with Air Lease Corp valued at $7.2 billion.