U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday, with investors stepping back after a lengthy run higher toward 10,000. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 75 points to 9,745. The S&P 500 Index shed 9 points to 1,058. The Nasdaq Composite fell 13 points to 2,119. The commodities are fronting the drop as crude drops below $70 a barrel and gold drops below a $1000 thanks in part to the strong dollar. In the fertilizer space, Potash is down 5% after lowering guidance due to weak demand. Plenty of upgrades this morning, but most are not helping. In the financial space Regions Financial, Wells Fargo, Legg Mason, and Charles Schwab were upgraded. Only Legg Mason is lower. The REIT sector was upgraded, but most are lower. Aflac is lower on an upgrade. Other upgrades this morning include FedEx, Research in Motion, Lorillard, and Reynolds America. All four are lower. After the first hour, the averages remain weak with the Dow down 60 points. The Nasdaq declined just 6 points. One deal to speak of this morning. Dell is buying Perot Systems this morning for $3.9 billion in cash. Dell is modestly lower, but Perot Systems is up 65%. Not bad. Through the morning the averages improved, particularly the techs. The Nasdaq moved into the green thanks to strength in Google, Apple, Research in Motion, Cisco Systems, and Intel. A number of financials have turned around as well. In the afternoon, the Dow remained in the red with the techs still performing well. Nothing changed in the last hour. The Dow Jones Industrials Average sank 41 points to close at 9,779. The S&P 500 fell nearly 4 points to 1,065. The Nasdaq rose 5 points to 2,138, its highest close in a year.
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