Stocks Open Lower as Europe Weighs

U.S. stocks opened lower Friday as Europe’s debt troubles overshadowed a drop in the U.S. jobless rate. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 71.59 points to 11,972.88. The S&P 500 Index fell 8.04 points to 1,253.11. The Nasdaq Composite fell 13.96 points to 2,684.01.

The American economy added 80,000 jobs in October, and job growth in the two previous months was much stronger than first thought. The unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent from 9.1 percent, the first time it has fallen since July, the government said Friday.

Italy will allow the IMF to monitor its progress with long overdue reforms of pensions, labor markets and privatizations, European leaders announced on Friday, looking beyond the crisis in Greece to the far graver threat to the euro zone.

Private sector activity in the euro zone shrank at its fastest pace in 28 months in October as the debt crisis sapped new business and soured sentiment in an economy looking like it is heading into a slump, survey data showed on Friday. Markit’s composite Purchasing Managers’ Index for the single currency area sank to 46.5, down from 49.1 in September and below an earlier flash estimate of 47.2.

Oil rose its highest in three months in New York as signs that Europe will reach an agreement with Greece on a rescue plan reduced concern economic growth will falter and damp fuel demand. Crude for December delivery rose as much as 86 cents to $94.93 a barrel, the highest price since August 2, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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