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Stocks slip as traders await data on profits

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The S&P 500 fell from a five-year high reached Friday — probably the result of traders taking some winnings off the table after the market’s surge last week. Investors are also preparing for corporate America’s seasonal parade of earnings reports, which starts Tuesday with Alcoa’s latest­ numbers, due after the market closes. Analysts forecast that S&P 500 companies will post quarterly earnings that are, on ­average, 3.3 percent higher than a year ago, according to S&P Capital IQ. But events of 2012’s fourth quarter — Hurricane Sandy, the presidential election, the narrowly avoided fiscal cliff — could make for some surprises.

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