Stocks Opened Sharply Lower on Euro Zone Concerns

U.S. stocks tunbled at the open Monday as fears of a credit rating downgrade of French banks and the lack of a solution to Greece’s debt problem heightened concerns about the euro zone’s debt crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 63.76 points to 10,928.37. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index shed 4.05 points to 1,150.18. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 1.84 points to 2,469.83.

Major French banks might be downgraded by Moody’s Investors Service this week because of their exposure to Greek-government debt, media reports say. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that such downgrades could signal that the debt crisis on the euro zone’s periphery is seeping into the broader regional financial system.

Senior German politicians have suggested publicly in recent days that an orderly bankruptcy of Greece may be part of a solution to the country’s problems. The notion, which has been a taboo so far in Europe’s handling of the crisis, has spawned uncertainty in financial markets.

Britain’s banks face some of the world’s toughest regulations under reforms outlined on Monday, which require them to insulate their retail lending activities and store up billions in extra capital at a cost of up to 7 billion pounds ($11 billion).

President Barack Obama is seeking to build public support for his $447 billion jobs plan before formally sending the bill to Congress Monday. The president will promote the jobs plan, which focuses on tax cuts and new spending, during an event in the Rose Garden Monday at 10:40 a.m. He will send the bill to Congress later in the day.

One person died and another was seriously injured in an explosion Monday in a site that treats nuclear waste in southern France, the country’s nuclear safety body said, adding that no radioactive leaks have been detected.

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