From The Associated Press
NEW YORK —
Stocks opened lower on Wall Street Monday on news that Spain’s economy entered another recession.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 34 points to 13,193 in the first half-hour of trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell eight points to 1,395 and the Nasdaq composite fell 21 points to 3,048.
Stocks were also being held back by a report from the Commerce Department that consumer spending growth slowed in the U.S. last month. That added to worries that the U.S. economy recovery is slowing down.
The losses were broad. Nine of the ten industry groups in the S&P 500 fell, led by materials. Only health care stocks rose. The dollar rose against the euro and the prices of U.S. Treasury bonds increased as investors parked money in low-risk assets.
European markets were mainly lower over growing concerns about Spain. Stocks were off nearly 1.3 percent in Spain and France.
The Spanish government said that country’s economy shrank 0.3 percent in the first three months of the year, the second straight three-month period of contraction. It’s the second time in three years that Spain has been in a recession.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded Spain’s government debt to just three notches above junk Friday. On Monday S&P lowered its rating for 11 Spanish banks, which are loaded with bad debt from a collapsed housing market. Spain is the fourth-largest economy among the 17 countries that use the euro. Investors worry that Europe’s bailout funds won’t be big enough to rescue Spain if it needs help.
Stocks to watch include Barnes & Noble, which is teaming up with Microsoft to create a unit to house the digital and college businesses of the bookseller and include a Nook application for Windows 8. The companies said they may separate those businesses entirely. That could mean a stock offering, sale, or some other kind of deal.
Barnes & Noble jumped 62 percent to $22.26 in early trading. Microsoft was flat.
Health insurer Humana fell 6 percent to $82.44 after reporting a 21 percent drop in first-quarter profit as the company paid out more in claims, falling short of Wall Street expectations.
NYSE Euronext, owner of the New York Stock Exchange, fell 4 percent to $25.95 after reporting that its income plunged 44 percent in the first three months of the because of weaker trading business and the collapse of its proposed merger with the European exchange operator Deutsche Boerse.
Sunoco jumped 21 percent to $49.30, the most of any stock in the S&P 500, on news that the company agreed to be bought by Energy Transfer Partners, a natural gas pipeline company, for $5.3 billion.