Stocks Opened Lower on Lingering Euro Worries

U.S. stocks opened lower on Wednesday, worried by record high borrowing costs for Italy and  the Federal Reserve said it would not be taking action to counter Europe’s debt crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 46.77 points to 11,908.17. The S&P 500 Index declined 7.61 points to 1,218.12. The Nasdaq Composite shed 21.95 points to 2,557.32.

Italy and Germany successfully sold bonds on Wednesday, but the stark contrast in their borrowing costs underscored investors’ fragile faith in Italian debt and the perceived safety of German debt. Italy’s auction of five-year debt and the euro broke 11- month lows against the dollar.

Applications for refinancing on home mortgages jumped last week, even as demand for new home purchases dried up, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, rose 4.1 percent in the week ended Dec 9.

China pledged to guarantee growth in the face of an “extremely grim” outlook for the global economy in 2012, rounding off its annual policy-setting conference on Wednesday with a series of commitments to deliver economic stability.

Oil prices inched down below $100 a barrel Wednesday in Asia amid expectations OPEC will likely keep its output quotas unchanged.  Benchmark crude for January delivery was down 29 cents to $99.85 a barrel in midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Japan’s disgraced Olympus Corp ironed out its crooked accounts on Wednesday after a 13-year fraud, with a $1.1 billion dent in its balance sheet triggering speculation it will need to merge, sell assets or raise capital to repair its finances.

First Solar Inc.(FSLR) again lowered its outlook for the year amid continued project delays in its systems business due to weather and other factors, while also projecting a weak view for 2012. First Solar now expects earnings for 2011 of $5.75 to $6 a share on sales of $2.8 billion to $2.9 billion, down from October’s lowered view of $6.50 to $7.50 and $3 billion to $3.3 billion, respectively. Meanwhile, for 2012, First Solar projected earnings of $3.75 to $4.25 a share on sales of $3.7 billion to $4 billion.






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