Stocks Opened Lower ahead of Europe Summit

U.S. stocks fell early Wednesday as differences between officials in Europe dimmed the prospects of a deal to save the euro at this week’s summit of European leaders. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 69.71 points to 12,080.42. The S&P 500 Index dropped 9.78 points to 1,248.69. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 29.24 points to 2,620.32.

The European Central Bank is expected to deliver its second rate cut in as many months on Thursday, but Mario Draghi’s pronouncements on efforts to cobble  together a tighter fiscal union in the euro zone will likely carry more weight as European leaders gather in Brussels.

Democrats and Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday advocated new restrictions on insider trading to help lift waning public trust in Congress.

Olympus Corp’s board signaled plans to quit over a $1.7 billion accounting fraud, but will likely pick a team of potential successors, triggering a battle for control of the Japanese firm with the former CEO who blew the whistle on the scandal. At a news conference on Wednesday, Olympus said one director had resigned, others may follow, and the entire board could go once the firm submits its second-quarter earnings, due by December 14, and takes steps to put the disgraced company back on track.

Facing diminished prospects for growth around the globe, Citigroup’s chief executive, Vikram S. Pandit, said on Tuesday that the bank would lay off 4,500 workers in the coming months. Citi will also take a $400 million charge in the fourth quarter to cover the cost of severance and other costs related to the job cuts, which will reduce the bank’s work force by about 2 percent, to 262,500 employees, Eric Dash of The New York Times reports.

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