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Stocks fell on Monday as markets kept a wary eye on geopolitical events -- fighting in eastern Ukraine and the Israeli offensive against Hamas militants in Gaza. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed unofficially 48 points lower, the S&P 500 slid 4 points and the Nasdaq lost 7 points. "The world is a more dangerous place, and if you need an excuse to respond to the current levels of valuations, there's a really good excuse. Given the performance of the markets in 2013 and this year to date, common sense alone says maybe it's time to sell, or play it more safely," said Hugh Johnson, chairman of Hugh Johnson Advisors. Stocks came off session lows, however, with the Dow regaining its footing above 17,000, after President Obama said that the costs to Russia would increase should it fail to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine.

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- Kate Gibson,