Stocks Slide Amid Europe Woes; CIT Jumps

Stocks opened lower Monday as worries about Europe's debt woes overshadowed a couple of earnings beats.

Industrials DuPont and Alcoa were the biggest drags on the Dow at the open, but both quickly rebounded and JPMorgan and Merck took their place at the bottom of the pack. leading the descent.

Home Depot, Hewlett-Packard and ExxonMobil were among the few Dow gainers.

Home Depot shares jumped about 3 percent after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock to "overweight" and added it to its "Best Ideas List."

"After avoiding the stock for years, we are optimistic on Home Depot's prospects as housing begins its recovery," Morgan analysts wrote in a reserach note, citing margin potential as the industry recovers.

The dollar continued to rise, while oil and gold rose.

European finance ministers tried to reassure Group of Seven leaders that the debt situation there is under control.

In addition to battling debt, Greece is faced with an assault on another front: Organized labor. Unions are threatening more strikesif the Socialist government goes through with a tough cost-cutting plan.

The U.S. economic calendar is pretty light the next few days. Later in the week, a few important reads on the consumer: The government's retail-sales report and consumer sentiment.

Shares of CIT Group jumped more than 4 percent as former Merrill Lynch Chairman John Thain was named chairman and CEO of the lending giant.

A few earnings beats helped curb losses in the market: CVS Caremark and Hasbro both topped forecasts, and Hasbro said it sees growth in 2010.

CVS fell short with its sales number, but noted progress at its pharmacy benefits unit and its store sales still beat rival Walgreen, which saw sales slide.

The most prominent after-the-bell earnings report today comes from Electronic Arts, the biggest maker of video games.

Motorola shares gained after Barron's said the telecom could gain 40 percent if it spins off its cellphone division.

New reports say Toyotawill announce a global Prius recall on Tuesday, to fix braking problems in the third-generation version of its best-selling hybrid. Reports of such a recall first surfaced last week.

AIG shares edged lower after CEO Robert Benmosche said he envisions a smaller company in the future as it sells many of its units to repay government bailout funds. shares rose after brokerage Collins Stewart upgrading its rating on the stock to "buy," citing the stock's recent decline. Amazon has resumed selling hardcover books from publisher Macmillan, but not the company's e-books. Neither side will comment, but analysts see the resumption of hardcover sales as a sign that the dispute over e-book pricing may be closer to resolution.

Reports say Walt Disney is leading a consortium that's in talks to buy a stake in China's largest digital ad company, and that Google is among the investors in the group.

In related news, Lionsgate , a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment, is looking to buy Disney's Miramax unit, according to the New York Post.

This Week:

MONDAY: Earnings from CVS Caremark and Hasbro
TUESDAY: Wholesale trade; 3-year note auction; Earnings from Coke, UBS, IAC, Pulte Homes and Disney; Mac World starts (through Sat)
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications; trade balance; Google hearing; weekly crude inventories; Fed's Plosser speaks; 1o-year auction; Earnings from NYT, Sprint Nextedol, Boston Scientific and Prudential; Chicago auto show starts
THURSDAY: Retail sales; weekly jobless claims; 30-year auction; Earnings from Pepsi, Philip Morris, and Viacom; Fashion week starts; Miami boat show starts
FRIDAY: Consumer sentiment; Winter Olympics starts

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