U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday as earnings season is about to begin. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 16 points to 8,582. Alcoa is down 6% ahead of their earnings tonight. The S&P 500 declined 3 points to 887. The Nasdaq Composite fell 2 points to 1,568. Ahead of the earnings season, plenty of downgrades and estimate cuts. Pfizer and Harley Davidson were downgraded. Amtech is downgrading virtually all the big cap techs. A few are trading higher including Google, IBM, and Research in Motion. Palm is up 5% on an upgrade. The financials are mostly lower. Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are inching closer to a deal on their brokerage divisions. Citigroup is down 8% while Morgan is up 5%. The U.S. dollar is up causing gold and oil to move lower. Most of the commodities are lower. Aetna reaffirmed numbers, but it isn't helping. Lennar is fighting more rumors of accounting problems. The diamond so far goes to Advance Optics, up 145%. Abbott Labs is buying out the firm for $2.8 billion. After the first half an hour the Dow fell 60 points. The Nasdaq declined 14 points. Through the morning the averages remained weak with more stocks moving into the red. Unitedhealth Group reaffirmed numbers for 2009 expecting to make $3 a share. Good news, right? The stock is down 2%. Tough market. In the afternoon the averages remained weak. The big banks are getting weaker. Investors seem to be getting nervous about possible new regulations being proposed for the big banks coming from the new administration. The insurance stocks are selling off. Metlife is down 8% while Hartford is down 15%. Corning is down 14% on a downgrade. Sony is expected to report a operating loss for the first time in 14 years. Oil closed lower for a fifth straight day. Gold closed at a one month low. Not a lot of good news out there. In the last hour more selling. It's starting to look like the old market from last fall. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 125 points, or 1.5%, to 8,474. The S&P 500 shed 20 points, or 2.3%, to end at 870 while the Nasdaq Composite declined 32 points, or 2.1%, to 1,538.
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