Market Minute: Apple Defends Itself Against Conspiracy Charges

Merck makes gains against cancer, and Apple is on the defensive. Those stocks and more are what's in the news Monday morning.

The major averages have now lost ground for two weeks in a row -- the first back-to-back declines since last November. The Dow industrials (^DJI) fell more than one percent last week, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) posted small losses.

Investors are trying to figure out which market trend is for real -- the S&P's streak of seven monthly gains in a row, or the back-to-back weekly losses, the first time that's happened in -- you guessed it -- seven months.

apple ipad ebook tablet department of justice conspiracy charges publishers
AFP/Getty Images

Apple (AAPL) will be in court today defending itself against federal charges that it conspired with publishers to drive up the price of e-books. At a pre-trial hearing last month, the judge hearing the case said he believes the government will be able to prove conspiracy. The charges date back to just before Apple introduced the iPad in 2010.

Merck (MRK) has reported progress in a drug to treat a deadly form of skin cancer. It now plans to start late stage clinical trials. Analysts say the drug has the potential to be a billion-dollar blockbuster, if future trials go well. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)is also in final stage testing on a rival drug.

The government will pay GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) $40 million to help it develop new antibiotics to treat new superbugs that have been resistant to other medications.

Automaker Ford (F) is expected to post a double-digit sales increase for May, while gains at General Motors (GM) and Toyota (TM) are forecast at three percent or less.

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) has raised the single-day ticket price at its theme parks in California and Florida for the fourth time in three years. It now cost $92 to enter Disneyland, an increase of 6 percent.

And Sony (SNE) may have an expensive flop on its hands. The Will Smith movie "After Earth" took in just $27 million in its debut weekend, well below expectations.

Check back after Monday's market close for the new Daily Finance closing bell report.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg