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Stocks Seeing Early Weakness Amid Renewed Europe Concerns - U.S. Commentary

Stocks have shown a notable move to the downside in early trading on Monday, as renewed concerns about Europe have inspired traders to cash in on the recent strength in the markets. The major averages have all slid firmly into negative territory.

The major averages have edged up off their lows for the young session in the past few minutes but remain in the red. The Dow is down 91.35 points or 0.7 percent at 12,891.60, the Nasdaq is down 28.91 points or 1 percent at 2,934.84 and the S&P 500 is down 10.09 points or 0.7 percent at 1,355.65.

The early weakness on Wall Street is partly due to a negative reaction to a statement from the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors.

Following a weekend meeting, the G20 called for a further enhancement of the Eurozone's bailout fund before the rest of the G20 nations can consider increasing their contribution to the International Monetary Fund's resources.

"Euro area countries will reassess the strength of their support facilities in March," the G20 said. "This will provide an essential input in our ongoing consideration to mobilize resources to the IMF."

Biotechnology stocks are seeing considerable weakness in early trading, dragging the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index down by 2.3 percent. Dendreon (DNDN) is leading the sector lower despite reporting better than expected fourth quarter results.

Significant weakness has also emerged among steel stocks, which have come under pressure amid concerns about the outlook for demand. Computer hardware, brokerage, and oil service stocks are also posting notable losses.

Meanwhile, Lowe's (LOW) is seeing early strength after reporting fourth quarter earnings of $0.26 per share on revenues of $11.6 billion. The results exceeded estimates. The company also updated its 2012 earnings guidance, forecasting earnings of $1.75 to $1.85 per share on 1 to 2 percent sales growth.

Transocean (RIG) is also trading higher after reporting a fourth quarter loss of $18.62 per share, including items that impacted results by $18.80 per share. Operating revenues rose to $2.42 billion from the year-ago's $2.13 billion.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day down by 0.9 percent.

The major European markets have also shown notable moves to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 1.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index have fallen by 1.4 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are moving higher amid the pullback by stocks. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 5.1 basis points at 1.926 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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