Stocks edge lower at the open

Monday, February 11, 2013 - 1:36pm

U.S. stocks inched lower at the opening bell Monday, as investors had little economic or corporate news to set the tone.
The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 both fell about 0.2%. The Nasdaq was flat.

Markets have had a good run so far in 2013. The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 are both up nearly 7% and near their all-time highs, while the Nasdaq has gained nearly 6%.

The big advance came after officials in Washington resolved some of the nation's fiscal problems and punted on others. Investors have also welcomed some upbeat economic news, such as improvement in the housing market, and corporate earnings that beat analysts' modest expectations.

Fourth-quarter earnings season has just about wrapped up, though firms including Coca-Cola, General Motors and PepsiCo will report later this week.

On the economic front, the main event this week will probably be Wednesday's retail sales data. Economists expect modest improvement in sales during January, according to estimates from Briefing.com.

U.S. stocks finished higher Friday, with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 logging their sixth straight week of gains.

In company news, Google disclosed late Friday that executive chairman Eric Schmidt plans to sell 3.2 million shares of his stock in the company, worth about $2.5 billion. Shares of Google were lower.

Shares of Tesla Motors fell more than 3% in early trading after the New York Times published a scathing review of the Model S sedan over the weekend..

European markets were mixed in morning trading. Exchanges in Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong were closed for holidays.
With the G-20 meeting set to be held this week in Moscow, there are reports that finance ministers are discussing releasing a statement on exchange rates to try to calm concerns that developed economies might engage in a currency war, sparked by Japanese efforts to lower the value of the yen.

 

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