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Sunday July 5th, 2015 3:48AM

A 7-day rally in US stocks fades away

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK - The stock market closed slightly lower Thursday as the longest rally since July petered out.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged down 25.96 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 15,300.64. The Dow had gained 404 points over the previous three days and is still up 3.3 percent this month.

The last three days of gains have helped the Dow recover the bulk of its losses in August, the worst month for the blue-chip index since May 2012.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 5.71 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,683.42 after rising the previous seven days. That was the longest winning streak since a string of eight gains between July 3 and July 15.

The Nasdaq composite fell 9.04 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,715.97. That followed a sharp decline Wednesday caused by a sell-off in Apple's stock.

The Dow did better than other indices because of Walt Disney, which jumped after the company said it plans to buy back up to $8 billion of its own stock starting next year. Disney rose $1.55, or 2 percent, to $65.49.

Traders continue to watch developments in Syria, where Syrian President Bashar Assad said Thursday his government has agreed to surrender its chemical weapons in response to a Russian proposal, not because of the threat of an attack from the U.S.

"Syria is still there as a concern, but it's starting to de-escalate," said Richard Sichel, chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co., which manages $1.9 billion in assets.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, are set to sit down together to discuss details of the plan in Geneva later Thursday. While Syria's economy is too small to have an impact on the global economy, the country is strategically important for oil markets since a conflict there could escalate and jeopardize the flow of crude from the Middle East.

In corporate news, shares of Lululemon Athletica dropped after the high-end yoga apparel maker cut its forecast for sales and profit this year, due partly to a product recall. Lululemon lost $3.73, or 5 percent, to $65.29.

Men's Wearhouse struggled after the company also cut its full-year profit forecast. The stock fell $4.69, or 12 percent, to $34.08.

Pandora Media climbed $2.59, or 12 percent, to $23.97. The online music streaming company said late Wednesday it was appointing former Microsoft executive Brian McAndrews as its new chief executive officer.

In other trading, the price of crude oil rose $1.04 to $108.60 a barrel. Gold fell $32.20 to $1,330.60 an ounce. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was 2.91 percent, unchanged from late Wednesday.
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