Stocks Opened Lower as Greece Deal Delayed

U.S. stocks fell sharply on Friday, after European finance minister stipulating conditions Greece must meet before Athens receives another round of funds. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 101.34 points to 12,789.12. The S&P 500 retreated 10.37 points to 1,341.58. The Nasdaq Composite declined 20.99 points to 2,906.24.

Global investor risk appetite weakened Friday as it became clear that final approval of a second Greek bailout necessary to avoid a messy default will be delayed until next week, after euro-zone finance ministers demanded the country’s parliament first approve another round of deep cutbacks.

The trade deficit widened in December to a six-month high, the Commerce Department said Friday, as the pickup in the U.S. economy attracted more imported goods. The nation’s trade deficit expanded 3.7% in the final month of 2011, to $48.8 billion — the largest since June — from a revised $47.1 billion in November, the government’s data showed.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has reached a settlement with two former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers that will avert a second trial over accusations that they had misled investors as the mortgage market was crumbling.

Procter & Gamble said on Wednesday that it could be forced to re-evaluate the sale of its well-known Pringles brand to Diamond Foods, just hours after Diamond Foods announced that it would have to restate two years of financial earnings amid questionable accounting practices.

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