Stocks Open Lower as Greek Worries Mount

U.S. stocks opened lower Tuesday as Greece struggled to form a new government,intensifying worry about the region’s debt. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 77.31 points to 12,931.22. The S&P 500 retreated 8.75 points to 1,360.83. The Nasdaq Composite shed 21.88 points to 2,935.88.

U.S. home prices edged up 0.6% in March, the first monthly rise since July 2011, according to CoreLogic. That represents a year-on-year fall of 0.6%. Excluding distressed sales, month-over-month prices increased for the third month in a row.

A measure of small-business optimism in April matched the best post-recession reading, a trade group said Tuesday. The National Federation of Independent Business said its small-business optimism index rose 2 points to 94.5, led by an 11-point jump in earnings trends.

Bank of America has started sending letters to thousands of homeowners in the United States, offering to forgive a portion of the principal balance on their mortgages by an average of $150,000 each. The reduction for qualifying homeowners could amount to monthly savings of up to 35 percent on mortgage payments, Bank of America said in a news release on Monday evening.

McDonald’s Corp (MCD) reported a smaller-than-expected rise in April sales at established restaurants across the globe, which were held back by a disappointing increase in its U.S. business. Same-restaurant sales in the United States rose 3.3 percent, while analysts expected a gain of roughly 5 percent.

Gold futures fell by more than $25 an ounce Tuesday, while oil futures dropped by more than $1 a barrel.  Gold for June delivery fell $26.40, or 1.6%, at $1,612.70 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. June crude oil traded at $96.84 a barrel on Nymex, down $1.10, or 1.1%.

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