Stocks Stumble to Start as Europe weighs

Stocks opened lower on Wednesday as policymakers warned Europe’s debt crisis posed dangers to the global economy and on growing signs the contagion was starting to spread to larger European nations. The Dow Jones industrial average lately dropped 86.50 points, or 0.72 percent, to 12,009.66. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 7.64 points, or 0.61 percent, to 1,250.17. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 11.62 points, or 0.43 percent, to 2,674.58.

France and Germany, Europe’s two central powers, clashed on Wednesday over whether the European Central Bank should intervene to halt the euro zone’s accelerating debt crisis as modest bond purchases failed to stop the rout.

Officials from Italy’s presidency were expected to announced Wednesday that Premier-designate Mario Monti has succeeded in creating a government with enough backing to enact reforms to save the country from financial disaster.

Target Corp. reported a 3.7 percent increase in third-quarter profits, helped by solid spending and improvement in its credit card business. The Minneapolis discounter said Wednesday that it earned $555 million, or 82 cents per share, in the three-month period ended Oct. 29. That compares with $535 million, or 74 cents per share, in the year- ago period. Revenue rose 5.4 percent to $16.05 billion.

Google Inc is expected to unveil on Wednesday an online music download store featuring songs from three major music companies, the Wall Street Journal reported. Sony Corp’s Sony Music Entertainment, Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group and EMI Music are expected to have deals with Google in place in time for a Wednesday afternoon announcement in Los Angeles.

U.S. crude oil futures [s; cl1z] prices topped $100 a barrel on Wednesday for the first time since June. The Nymex WTI crude contract for December delivery rose $1.33, or 1.3%, to $100.68 a barrel in morning trade.





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