Stocks Started Lower on Europe Concerns

U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday over growing fears about the euro zone’s commitment to tackling its debt crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 144.40 points, or 1.11%, to 12,884.86. The S&P 500 declined 15.33 points, or 1.11%, to 1,363.20. The Nasdaq Composite tumbled 38.09 points, or 1.27%, to 2,962.36.

The European Union will ban the sale of luxury goods and products that can have military as well as civilian uses to Syria as U.N. truce monitors start deploying in the conflict-torn nation, diplomats said Monday.

Germany’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly shrank at the fastest pace in nearly three years in April, denting hopes it can drive growth in the euro zone and casting a shadow over upbeat business sentiment surveys. Markit’s manufacturing Purchasing Mangers Index (PMI) fell sharply to 46.3 from March’s 48.4, according to a flash estimate released on Monday, well below the 50 mark which would sign al growth in activity.

Spain slipped back into recession as the country’s economy contracted for the second quarter in a row, the central bank said Monday. A Bank of Spain monthly report recorded that economic output shrank 0.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, following a 0.3 percent decline in the last quarter of 2011. A technical recession is commonly defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.

General Motors Co. chairman Dan Akerson said Monday the automaker plans to open 600 dealerships in China this year, and nearly double production capacity despite a slowdown in sales growth.

Swiss food and drink giant Nestle SA announced a deal Monday to acquire Pfizer Inc.’s infant-nutrition business for $11.85 billion in a bid to boost sales in emerging markets.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Saturday that it is looking into a newspaper’s claims that employees at a subsidiary bribed Mexican officials over several years and that executives at its headquarters in the U.S. shut down any thorough investigation of the allegations.

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