* China trade balance unexpectedly swings into deficit
* Indexes off: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.4 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK (Frankfurt: HX6.F - news) , March 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Mondayweighed by soft data out of China, lingering concerns overRussia's claim over part of Ukraine and Boeing's latestproduction setback.
Merger and acquisition announcements, as well ascompany-specific news including on Facebook and Alexion Pharma,helped stem losses.
China's exports unexpectedly tumbled 18.1 percent inFebruary, against expectations for a 6.8 percent rise, swingingthe trade balance into deficit and adding to fears of a slowdownin the world's second-largest economy.
"There's reasons to be a little cautious on the market.There's a little bit of profit-taking," said Paul Zemsky, headof asset allocation at ING Investment Management in New York.
"But the numbers are not persuasive enough to make me wantto sell U.S. stocks," he said. "The impact (of China) would haveto go beyond what we already expect from emerging markets."
Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold lost 3.3 percent to$31.13 as signs of a slowing China sent London copper to a morethan eight-month low. The S&P materials index lost 0.5percent.
Unidentified armed men fired in the air as they moved into aUkrainian naval post in Crimea on Monday in the latestconfrontation since Russian military groups seized control ofthe Black Sea peninsula. Russia said the United States hadspurned an invitation to hold new talks on resolving the crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 81.56 points or0.5 percent, to 16,371.16, the S&P 500 lost 6.16 pointsor 0.33 percent, to 1,871.88 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 15.89 points or 0.37 percent, to 4,320.333.
The S&P 500 had closed at a record high on Friday.
Facebook shares hit an intraday record of $72.15after UBS raised its price target on the online social mediagiant to $90 from $72. The stock was up 2.8 percent at $71.76.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NasdaqGS: ALXN - news) jumped 6.8 percent to$179.51 after it raised its profit and sales forecast for theyear. The French government agreed to raise reimbursementpayments for the company's treatment for two rare blooddisorders.
Boeing Co shares lost 2.3 percent to $125.52 onanother production setback for the company's newest jet as"hairline cracks" were discovered in the wings of about forty787 Dreamliners. The weekend disappearance andpresumed crash of a Malaysian airliner made by the U.S.manufacturer was another headwind on Boeing's stock.
Employees of Freescale Semiconductor on the MalaysiaAirlines flight were doing sophisticated work at theU.S. chipmaker, a company spokesman said on Sunday. Freescaleshares fell 1.7 percent to $22.99.
Chiquita Brands and Irish rival Fyffes (Other OTC: FYFFF - news) ,Europe's largest distributor, struck an all-stock merger deal tocreate the world's biggest banana supplier. Chiquita sharesjumped 8.1 percent to $11.73.
United Rentals Inc (NYSE: URI - news) , gained 3.8 percent to $91.81.The world's largest equipment rental company said it had agreedto buy privately-held National Pump, the second-largestspecialty pump rental company in North America, for $780million.
"Deals in general show people are looking for growth andgood ideas, they're taking shares out of the market and it showsthere's confidence in investors' minds," said ING's Zemsky.
FMC Corp (NYSE: FMC - news) rose 5.3 percent to $82.01. The chemicalsmanufacturer said it would split into two companies, onecomprising its minerals business and the other its agricultural,health and nutrition businesses.
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