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US: Stocks fall despite gains for Netflix, Twitter

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[NEW YORK] US stocks began the fourth quarter on a down note Monday, declining despite gains for Netflix and Twitter on takeover speculation.

Analysts said investors were taking profit after Friday's strong session concluded the third quarter.

Netflix jumped 4.1 per cent on speculation it could be acquired by Disney.

Disney has also been mentioned as a potential buyer of Twitter, which also ended up 4.1 per cent. Other companies that have been mentioned as potential suitors for Twitter include Salesforce and Google.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.3 per cent to 18,253.85.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.3 per cent to 2,161.20, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.2 per cent to 5,300.87.

Tenet Healthcare lost 4.0 per cent on news it will pay US$513 million to settle US Department of Justice charges it bribed prenatal care clinics to win referrals to hospitals in the southern US.

Tesla Motors surged 4.7 per cent after announcing it delivered 24,500 vehicles in the third quarter, more than most analysts expected. Analyst Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research called the figures a sign of a "blowout quarter."

Twenty-First Century Fox rose 1.7 per cent after its film, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, led the US box office over the weekend with US$28.5 million.

Dow Chemical and DuPont both rose more than 1.0 per cent on news the European Commission resumed an antitrust review on their proposed merger after receiving additional information from the companies. The agency had halted the review in September.

Facebook rose 0.4 per cent as it announced a new platform to buy and sell goods, putting it in competition with other online marketplaces, including eBay, which fell 1.0 per cent.