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posted: 8/7/2014 1:01 AM

Stocks stabilize as energy sector rebounds

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By STEVE ROTHWELL and KAY JOHNSON
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks stabilized on Wednesday as energy prices rebounded. The stock market dropped to its lowest level since May the day before as Russia massed troops near its border with Ukraine. Molson Coors jumped after reporting strong earnings.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,923 as of 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 27 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,456. The Nasdaq composite rose 13 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,367.

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ENERGY REBOUND: Benchmark U.S. crude for September delivery rose for only the second day of the last eight. Oil rose 60 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $97.99 in New York. Natural gas prices also rose. Energy stocks were the biggest gainers in the S&P 500, climbing 1.3 percent.

HIGHER BEER PRICES: Molson Coors rose $4.20, or 6.3 percent, to $71.43 after the company said its second-quarter profit rose 9 percent as better pricing offset a decline in the volume of beer sales globally. The beer maker earned $291 million, or $1.56 per share, for the period ended June 30. A year earlier it earned $267 million, or $1.45 per share.

M&A UNDONE: Sprint plunged $1.21, or 16.5 percent, to $1.20 after reports that company was abandoning its pursuit of T-Mobile US because it would be too hard to convince regulators to approve a merger of the No. 3 and No. 4 cellphone carriers in the nation.

Time Warner fell $9.08, or 10.7 percent, to $76 after Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox said it is abandoning its attempt to take over the company. The deal would have combined two of the world's biggest media conglomerates. Twenty-First Century Fox gained $1.65, or 5.3 percent, to $32.95.

UKRAINE JITTERS: Global markets dropped after news reports of a buildup of Russian troops on the Ukraine border. On Wednesday, Poland's prime minister said he had information indicating that there is a growing threat of a "direct intervention" by Russia in Ukraine.

TRADING RANGE: Stocks may oscillate in a trading range in coming days as investors follow developments in Ukraine and assess their impact on the global economy, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.

"The market's worst enemy has always been, and always will be, uncertainty," said Cardillo.

STAYING PUT: Walgreen fell $8.86, or 12.8 percent, to $60.26 after the drugstore company said it will no longer pursue an overseas reorganization that would have trimmed the amount of U.S. taxes it pays.

IN EUROPE: Germany's DAX dropped 1.2 percent and the FTSE 100 in London shed 1.1 percent. France's CAC was down 1 percent. U.S. markets looked set for another day of losses.

CURRENCIES, BONDS AND COMMODITIES: The dollar fell to 102.38 Japanese yen. The euro dipped to a nine-month low of $1.3340. U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 2.45 percent from 2.48 percent on Tuesday. Gold rose $23.90, or 1.9 percent, to $1,309.50 an ounce.

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Johnson reported from Mumbai, India.

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