U.S. stocks opened steeply lower on Monday following weakness in China and Europe. Everyone wants the markets to pull back, and at least for today, they are getting what they want. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 141 points to 9,179. The S&P 500 Index dropped 17 points to 986, while the Nasdaq Composite shed 36 points to 1,948. Broad based weakness across the board. The only sector trading higher is healthcare. President Obama seems to be backing away from his health insurance plan helping the HMOs. Unitedhealth Group is up 2%, Humana is up 3%, and Aetna is up 3% on an upgrade. The financials are weak as more banks failed over the weekend. BB&T is raising $750 million in common stock to pay for the acquisition of Colonial Bank with help from the FDIC. Charles Schwab is down 2% as New York is building a case to sue the firm for promoting auction rate securities. American Express is lower by 4% on cautious comments from RBC. Capital One is lower by 2% as credit card charge offs rise. On the earnings front, Lowes is down 3% after missing estimates. Valspar beat estimates, but the stock is lower by 2%. The IPO honeymoon is over for Rosetta Stone. The language software provider came public back April, performed well for a couple of months, but today the stock is lower by 25% after lowering guidance. After the first half an hour, the Dow dropped 160 points. The Nasdaq declined 42 points. Through the morning and into the afternoon, the averages remained in the red. Healthcare related stocks are the only ones trading higher. Besides the HMOs, Merck and Pfizer are modestly higher on upgrades. In the last hour, no rebound. The Dow Jones Industrial fell 186 points, or 2%, to close at 9,135. The S&P 500 Index dropped 24 points, or 2.4%, to 979, and the Nasdaq Composite declined 54 points, or 2.8%, to 1,930.
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