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Stocks dip in final half-hour of trading

Stocks closed with slight losses Monday after falling in the last half-hour of trading. Major indexes had been up for most of the day after several economic reports suggested that the recovery is continuing.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 22.71 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,197.88. The broader S&P 500 index lost 3.61, or 0.3 percent, to 1,310.19. The Nasdaq composite fell 12.38, or 0.5 percent, to 2,730.68. Each index had been up more than 0.4 percent earlier in the day.

The National Association of Realtors said more Americans signed contracts to buy homes in February than economists were expecting. Sales rose in every region but the Northeast but remained below what is considered a healthy level.

Oil prices fell below $104 per barrel after Libyan rebels retook control of two key port towns, Ras Lanouf and Brega, and said they would resume exporting crude within weeks.

In the U.S., Eastman Kodak Co. gained 5 percent after the U.S. Trade Commission said it will review a judge's finding in a patent dispute with Apple Inc. and Research in Motion Ltd. A favorable ruling could pave the way for Kodak to reap higher fees.

EBay Inc. fell 4.3 percent after the company agreed to pay $2.4 billion to acquire GSI Commerce, which operates websites for retailers.

Oil-services companies Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Ltd. each rose more than 4 percent.

Three stocks fell for every two that gained on the New York Stock Exchange. Consolidated volume came to 3.3 billion shares.

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