US stocks fall ahead of earnings season kickoff
In corporate news:
— Agriculture products giant Monsanto rose $2.56, or 2.7 percent, to $98.50 after saying its profit nearly tripled in the first fiscal quarter, helped by strong seed sales in Latin America. Monsanto raised its earnings guidance for the year.
— Video game seller GameStop lost $1.56, or 6.3 percent, to $23.19 after reporting weak holiday-season sales and cutting its revenue guidance.
— Yum Brands, operator of the KFC and Taco Bell fast food chains, plunged after saying a key sales metric in China fell more than expected in the fourth quarter. The decline was related to problems at two of its small chicken suppliers; nearly half of the company's revenue came from China in 2011. Yum lost $2.85, or 4.2 percent, to $65.04.
— In Korea, electronics giant Samsung said it expects record earnings for the fourth quarter as shoppers continue to embrace its smartphones and tablets. But there were signs its momentum is slowing, and the company's stock closed down 1.3 percent in Seoul.
Daniel Wagner can be reached at www.twitter.com/wagnerreports .